Congress calls for 'systematic opposition unity' after Rahul Gandhi's disqualification
New Delhi/IBNS: The Congress party Friday planned to hold a nationwide "save democracy" movement protesting against the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a Member of Parliament, a day after a court in Gujarat sentenced him to a 2-year jail sentence in 2019 defamation case for his remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The decision was made at a strategy meeting this evening attended by top Congress leaders, including party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former Union Minister P Chidambaram.
"We discussed political strategy on Rahul Gandhi's disqualification. Abhishek Manu Singhvi briefed the members on the legal strategy. We have planned protests across the country in the coming days," senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told media persons.
The party also welcomed the statement of support of all opposition leaders and called for "systematic" opposition unity.
Several leaders of opposition parties including Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, MK Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray, KCR, Akhilesh Yadav have supported Rahul Gandhi and attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for its "dictatorship".
"The Congress welcomes the statement of support of all opposition leaders, we should now take the issue of opposition unity forward in a systematic way," Ramesh said.
"The Congress president has been coordinating with opposition parties every day in parliament, now this has to be done outside also," he said.
In his first reaction after disqualification for the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday said is "ready to pay any cost".
The move came a day after he was sentenced to a two-year jail term in a defamation case for a remark seen as an insult to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I am fighting for the voice of India. I am ready to pay any price," he tweeted in Hindi.
मैं भारत की आवाज़ के लिए लड़ रहा हूं।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 24, 2023
मैं हर कीमत चुकाने को तैयार हूं।
The former Congress President was disqualified as a member of parliament on Friday after he was sentenced to two years in jail in a 2019 defamation case.
Reacting to the same, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called it "a new low for our constitutional democracy".
Banerjee, who is politically maintaining distance from Congress, backed the grand old party in a tweet which reads, "In PM Modi’s New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP!
"While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches. Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy."
In PM Modi’s New India, Opposition leaders have become the prime target of BJP!— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) March 24, 2023
While BJP leaders with criminal antecedents are inducted into the cabinet, Opposition leaders are disqualified for their speeches.
Today, we have witnessed a new low for our constitutional democracy
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too took swipes at the central government over the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from Lok Sabha and said the Centre is "so scared".
“Efforts are being made to destroy the country,” alleged Kejriwal.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha poll campaign, Rahul had said, "How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname."
A complaint, which was lodged by BJP leader Purnesh Modi, claimed Rahul had defamed the entire Modi community.