Dr Subramanian Swamy, BJP’s Rajya Sabha Member, had at various points of time claimed that Congress President Rahul Gandhi had an Italian Passport, two Indian Passports, four passports. In 2012 he claimed for the first time that Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen.
· In November 2015 Dr Swamy wrote to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha alleging that Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen and hence was not entitled to be an MP.
· The same month in November 2015 Dr Swamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and made a similar allegation, calling for an inquiry.
· In January 2016, BJP MP Mahesh Giri complained to the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha, then headed by LK Advani, to enquire into Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship.
· In September 2017 Dr Swamy sent a petition to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking for a similar inquiry.
· In December 2018 Dr Swamy tweeted that Rahul Gandhi being a British citizen is not entitled to be an MP, leave alone the PM.
· On April 20, an independent candidate in Amethi and three others, assisted by a battery of lawyers from New Delhi, objected to the candidature of Rahul Gandhi on the ground that being a British citizen, he was not entitled to contest the Lok Sabha election.
· Over the next 24 hours Dr Swamy appeared on various TV channels to reiterate the rehashed claim and held forth on how a British citizen cannot contest in an Indian election.
· On April 21, 2019, anticipating that the objections raised in Amethi would not be sustained, Dr Swamy tweeted voicing doubts whether the Returning Officer of Amethi, the District Magistrate in this case, would have the ‘nerve’ to sustain the objections.
“The real question for tomorrow is if a Returning Officer will have the nerve to reject Buddhu’s nomination form. Of course there will a an election petition if he does not”
But never mind, he declared in the same tweet. Even if the RO sets aside the objections, an election petition could always be filed. And of course, the Congress President would be forced to keep answering questions about his citizenship throughout the election campaign, he consoled his followers.
“If disqualified on Monday then goodbye. If not then in the campaign he will be forced to answer questions galore about the truth of his citizenship and education for voters to defeat him
A compulsive Twitter user, Dr Swamy gave the game away by admitting that his misplaced campaign on the Congress President’s citizenship is more political than based on facts.
Does anyone believe that the Modi Government would not have jumped on the Congress President if it had proof that he was a British national?
Not surprisingly, the pliant media failed to ask Dr Swamy why the Government, the Home Ministry and the Lok Sabha had junked his allegation on Rahul Gandhi’s nationality.
But remarkably, Dr Swamy has never been the one to formally make these allegations or to make the allegations on oath. None of the documents that he merrily shares on twitter are authenticated by appropriate authorities either.
That is why it came as no surprise when the Returning Officer at Amethi Ram Manohar Misra set aside the objections on Monday and declared the nomination papers filed by Rahul Gandhi at Amethi as valid.
An independent candidate and three others had on Saturday had raised objections over the Congress President’s nomination from Amethi, alleging discrepancies over citizenship and educational qualifications in his affidavit.
Bharatiya Janata Party and several TV channels had gone to town last week and alleged that the Congress President was a British citizen, that he was known in England as Raul Vinci and that he had withheld information required by the Election Commission to be filed to the Returning Officer.
Narendra Kumar Misra, who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Amethi, in his written reply informed the Returning Officer:
1. That Rahul Gandhi has always had an Indian Passport and has never held citizenship of any other country.
2. The certificate of incorporation of the firm Backops in London, a certified copy of which was produced, clearly mentioned Rahul Gandhi as a Director and as an Indian Citizen.
3. As for his educational qualifications, he did his Senior Secondary from CBSE in 1989, BA from Rollins College, Florida in 1994 and M.Phil from Trinity College in 1995.
Setting aside objections raised over the nomination, the RO found the replies submitted by Rahul Gandhi to be satisfactory and in conformity with the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India.
· A key objection raised was that the stamp paper for submitting the nomination was not purchased in Amethi. In his order the RO set aside the objection and pointed out that the Congress President had used e-stamp, which is valid across the country.
· Another objection said that Rahul Gandhi had left out details of his moveable property and had not clearly mentioned the educational institutions where he had studied. The RO dismissed the objection and observed that all the columns had been duly filled and all required information was there in the papers filed.
· Unauthenticated documents, the RO ruled, had been produced to claim that the Congress President is a British citizen. However, lawyers representing the Congress President produced certified copy of his name enrolled in the Voters’ roll in New Delhi to deny objections that he is not an Indian citizen.
· The Returning Officer also observed that people who had raised objections about the citizenship of the candidate failed to produce any document to show that Rahul Gandhi’s Indian citizenship had been revoked at any time.
The RO in his order mentioned that in any case determining citizenship did not fall under his jurisdiction. He also cited the Rules and Guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India, which holds that no nomination would be cancelled merely on grounds of suspicion that the information given by the candidate is incorrect.