Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said that Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha is a judicial matter and should be kept out of the political context.
Speaking to reporters today morning, CM Sarma said, “…court has held him (Rahul Gandhi) guilty, and as a consequence of the pronouncement of the court…he has been disqualified. So, according to me, this is a judicial cycle and there is nothing political about it, so, I don’t think any comment is required from our side on the disqualification as well as the decision of the court.”
He added, “In his speech in Karnataka, he has abused the OBC community. Consequent to that comment, cases were filed in various parts of the country, even in Arunachal also because that particular community resides there too.”
The chief minister further admitted that an accidental slip of tongue is inevitable sometimes but apology should have been tendered.
“He should have tendered an apology immediately after that speech. Sometimes, slip of tongue happens, even with us. But in next 10-15 minutes, we issue a statement apologizing for the comment that came out of the mouth unintentionally.”
“The matter would have been closed if Rahul Gandhi had apologized, but he neither apologized nor withdrew the comments against the community for five long years. Hence, the comments were intentional and were meant to abuse the OBC community of the country,” he further said.
Earlier yesterday, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction in the criminal defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark he made in 2019.
The Lok Sabha secretariat in a notification issued on Friday read, “Shri Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 23 March, 2023 in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1) (e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.”
On Thursday, a Surat court convicted Gandhi and sentenced him to two years of imprisonment in a 2019 defamation case that had been filed against him over his alleged derogatory remarks on the “Modi surname”. The court granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court.
In the build-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha general elections, Gandhi had allegedly remarked, “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” during a public rally at Kolar in Karnataka. Based on it, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi had lodged a complaint against the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi.
He had also last appeared before the court in October 2021 to record his statement in the case against him filed under the IPC sections 499 and 500, which deal with defamation.
Rahul Gandhi was an MP from the seat of Wayanad in Kerala.