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Reactions to India’s Rahul Gandhi losing parliament seat


Opposition leaders condemn Gandhi’s disqualification and accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of ‘killing democracy’.

India’s parliament has disqualified a prominent member of the opposition party, Rahul Gandhi, following his conviction in a defamation case related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname.

Gandhi, 52, “has been disqualified from membership” of parliament, a message from the house said on Friday.

Gandhi was found guilty on Thursday of a 2019 speech in which he referred to thieves with the last name Modi.

He made the remark while campaigning in the last general election, which Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won by a landslide.

Gandhi waves to supporters at New Delhi airport after appearing before a court in Surat in the western state of Gujarat on Thursday (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

It is one of the most notable disqualifications of a sitting legislator in the South Asian country.

Here are some reactions to Gandhi’s loss of MP status:

Shashi Tharoor, Congressman

Member of Parliament and well-known author Shashi Tharoor said he was “baffled” by the decision, despite appealing against the verdict

“This is politics with the gloves off and it bodes badly for our democracy,” he tweeted.

Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Chairman

Kharge said the Modi government was “most afraid of Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party”.

“For killing democracy, they have canceled Mr Gandhi’s parliamentary membership. They want to silence those who speak the truth. Compatriots do not tolerate this dictatorship.”

Uddhav Thackeray, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra

The opposition leader and former chief minister of Maharashtra state said that “calling a thief a thief has become a crime in our country”.

“Thieves and looters are still free and Rahul Gandhi was punished. This is a direct assassination of democracy. All government systems are under pressure. This is the beginning of the end of the dictatorship,” he said.

Rana Ayyub, journalist

Kiren Rijiju, BJP MP

India’s Law and Justice Minister, Kiren Rijiju, expressed disappointment at people defending Gandhi.

“Rahul Gandhi made a very derogatory remark and disgraced an entire OBC (other backward class) community,” he tweeted.

“We cannot blame all Gandhi surnames just because Rahul Gandhi insulted Indian democracy, our armed forces and Indian institutions.”

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal

“In Prime Minister Modi’s New India, opposition leaders have become BJP’s main target!” Banerjee said on social media.

“As BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are admitted to the cabinet, opposition leaders are being disqualified from their speeches. Today we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy.”

Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shiv Sena-UBT MP

The Mumbai MP said the move to disqualify Gandhi was “vengeful and shameful”.

“This disqualification proves once again that we live in the age of a caged democracy.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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