New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi held his first press conference on Saturday a day after he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha over his conviction in a four-year old defamation case.
Meanwhile, Congress workers staged protest and BJP-Sena held counter-agitation in Maharashtra’s Thane over the Congress leader’s disqualification.
Here are the key developments:
- Rahul Gandhi trained his guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his presser where he said the reason behind his disqualification was that PM Modi was scared of his next speech on Adani. “This is the whole drama that is been orchestrated to defend the Prime Minister from the simple question – Who’s Rs 20,000 crore went to Adani’s shell companies? I am not scared of these threats, disqualifications or prison sentences,” Gandhi said, adding, “Even if they permanently disqualify me, I will keep doing my job.”
- Saying that he won’t apologise for his remarks on India’s democracy in his recent London visit, Rahul Gandhi said, “My name is not Savarkar, it is Gandhi and Gandhi never offers apology.”
- The disqualification of Rahul Gandhi is an “own goal” by the BJP, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor “This has had a few unintended consequences for the BJP. There are headlines in every capital about what happened to Rahul Gandhi. Second, they have created a level of opposition unity that didn’t previously exist,” Tharoor said.
- Mayawati, the president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), referred to the Emergency as she attacked both the Congress and the BJP, saying political malice and hatred had not benefited the country in the past and will not in the future. The BSP supremo said that Congress should consider whether what happened during the 1975 Emergency and what is happening now with its leader Rahul Gandhi is justified.
- Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said that “Rahul Gandhi’s family should be treated differently by the law. His grandmother & father have sacrificed their lives for the nation. The law must give minimum punishment. BJP is scared that their theft may be caught”.
- Political strategist turned activist Prashant Kishor termed as “excessive” the two years’ imprisonment awarded to Rahul Gandhi. “I am not a legal expert but with due respect to the process of law, the sentence awarded to Rahul Gandhi seems to be excessive. In the heat of elections, people say all types of things. This was not the first instance and not going to be the last,” Kishor said.
- Launching a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on Hindu ideologue VD Savarkar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said any amount of criticism will be less for Gandhi and that he should be punished for his statement. “Savarkar is not only Maharashtra’s deity but is an idol for the whole country and Rahul Gandhi has defamed him. Any criticism of Rahul Gandhi will be lesser for his this deed. Today also, he said that I am not Savarkar who will apologise. What does he think of Savarkar? He must be punished for this,” CM Shinde said.
- Speaking on Rahul Gandhi’s conviction, Chief Judicial Magistrate of Surat Court HH Varma said, “If the accused is given less punishment, then it sends a wrong message to the public and the purpose of defamation is not fulfilled and anybody will easily slander someone.”
- The Congress protested against Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and disqualification as an MP in Maharashtra’s Thane on Saturday, while the BJP and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena held separate demonstrations over his remark that allegedly hurt the sentiments of the Other Backward Class (OBC).
- Kerala’s Wayanad witnessed strong protests by Congress workers, including the burning of PM Modi’s effigy, a day after Rahul Gandhi, who represented the constituency, was disqualified from Lok Sabha.