Govt wants to get Rahul Gandhi removed from LS through disqualification as he speaks truth: Kharge
The court also granted Gandhi bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court, his lawyer Babu Mangukiya said
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday alleged that the BJP-led government wants to get Rahul Gandhi removed from Lok Sabha through disqualification as he speaks the truth and exposes it.
Kharge's remarks came after a court in Surat sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail in a defamation case, filed on a complaint by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi, for his alleged remark, "How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?"
The court also granted Gandhi bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court, his lawyer Babu Mangukiya said.
Speaking at the launch of a book on former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Kharge alleged that for a long time now agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Income Tax Department and the Vigilance Commission are being used to suppress the voice of Opposition leaders but now "attempts are being made by taking refuge under laws to silence everyone".
He said Gandhi's conviction in the defamation case will be appealed in a higher court.
"They (government) want to get him ousted (from Lok Sabha). The person who speaks the truth and exposes you, you want to remove him through such means. Nobody gets two years jail for defamation, someone is given one year, six months, or apology is sought, but the provision for (disqualification) is two years and that is why they have applied it in complete," Kharge said after he launched the book 'Son of the Soil' on Shastri.
"By shutting one person up, can you shut up 140 crore people. We will keep fighting, don't think that by two years punishment, the Congress is finished, we will keep fighting. The Congress is alive and will remain so," he said.
The Congress president said fugitives such as Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi, who have fled the country with hundred of thousands of crores of rupees, are not being punished or caught, while action is being taken against Gandhi.
"When he (Gandhi) talks about it he is punished. I want to ask people who should be punished...When we raise such issues (of fugitives) in Parliament, ministers rise to shout 'maafi maango, maafi maango', why are they saying it in Rajya Sabha, he (Gandhi) is a member of the Lok Sabha," Kharge said.
The government's intention is that Parliament not be allowed to function, he said.
"He is not there in Rajya Sabha but you are so scared of Rahul Gandhi that he is coming in your dreams. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to hand over the country's assets to his friends then neither Rahul Gandhi will sit quietly nor Congress workers," he said.
"There is only one mantra to save democracy in the country-- 'Daro Mat'. So we have to fight unitedly to save democracy," he said.
In his remarks at the book launch, Kharge also alleged that Opposition leaders are also not being allowed to speak freely in Parliament and the government deploys various mechanisms to "trample" upon that person.
Hitting back at Prime Minister Modi for his remote control swipe at him, Kharge said he should first answer who has the remote control to BJP president JP Nadda.
Kharge recalled that last month while speaking in Karnataka's Belagavi the prime minister had taken a dig at him, saying he is Congress president just for the sake of it, and everyone can see and understand, as to whose hands the remote control is in.
Modi had said, "I have great respect for Mallikarjun Kharge, a son of this land, who has about 50 years of parliamentary or legislature experience. He has tried to do whatever he could in the service of people. But I was sad looking at how Kharge, who is the president of the party and a senior in age, was treated during the Congress' session in Chhattisgarh."
"The weather was hot... but in that heat, Kharge did not have the fortune of getting an umbrella's shade. It was for someone standing next to him," Modi had said.
Hitting back at Modi, Kharge said he was wearing a Gandhi cap and Congress leaders were under a "white umbrella". "But our Modi ji is always standing under a black umbrella and those involved in black deeds stand under black umbrellas," he said.
The Congress president alleged that prime minister Narendra Modi often makes remarks that does not behove his high office and asserted that Shastri never spoke such language.
Earlier, in a tweet in Hindi, Kharge said, "Coward, dictatorial BJP government is incensed at Rahul Gandhi and Opposition because we are exposing their misdeeds and demanding a JPC."
"Under its political bankruptcy, the Modi government sends police and the ED, and imposes cases on political speeches. We will appeal in the higher court," he said.
Saying that an appeal will be filed in the matter, Kharge slammed the BJP. If they point one finger at others there are four fingers pointed at them also, he told reporters.
"We knew such a thing could happen... they kept changing judges. But we have faith in the judiciary and will fight as per the law."
As per the Representation of the People Act, a person sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more shall be disqualified "from the date of such conviction" and remain disqualified for another six years after serving time.
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