Rajat Sharma


AKb (1)With the Lok Sabha Secretariat disqualifying Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday following his conviction in a criminal defamation case, the political ball has started rolling. Congress workers held protests in different cities. BJP leaders alleged that Rahul tried to defame the OBC community that Narendra Modi belongs to. Congress leader and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, the verdict will be challenged, as it is “full or errors…. We will take it to the sessions court and higher courts. There is a fundamental principle regarding defamation which is that it should be against a specific person and not in generic terms”. Singhvi is an experienced lawyer. He knew that Rahul Gandhi was bound to lose his membership. On July 10, 2013, Supreme Court in Lily Thomas versus Union of India case, had ordered that any MP or MLA sentenced to two years or more of imprisonment, shall automatically be disqualified in Parliament and assembly. The disqualification will be applicable immediately. The then UPA government of Dr Manmohan Singh had tried to overturn this verdict by bringing an ordinance, but, paradoxically, it was Rahul Gandhi who opposed the ordinance and tore its copy dramatically at a press conference. At that time, Rahul had created an embarrassing situation for the Prime Minister, and the government had to withdraw the ordinance. Ten years later, Rahul has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and the apex court order is applicable to him. It was on the basis of this verdict that UP MLA Abdullah Azam was disqualified as the trial court had given him two years’ sentence. Congress now wants to fight this issue on a political pitch. Rahul Gandhi will now be projected as the biggest rival to Narendra Modi. Congress leaders will now repeat it ad nauseum that Rahul is the only opposition leader who is not afraid of Modi. They will say that Rahul lost his membership of Parliament, but did not tender apology. One must however agree that the mistake that Rahul committed ten years ago by tearing the ordinance has now come to haunt him. Had he not opposed Dr Manmohan Singh’s ordinance by describing it as “a complete nonsense’, had the Supreme Court order been overturned, there would have been no danger to Rahul’s membership of Lok Sabha.


Bihar Deputy CM and RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav has also committed a mistake. On Tuesday, he remarked that thugs (frauds) can get away scot-free if they are Gujaratis. He was expressing anger over ED and CBI taking action against opposition leaders. Tejashwi Yadav did not name anybody, but he did say ‘Gujarati thugs’. RJD leaders now say that Tejashwi’s remark was against fugitive economic offenders like Mehul Choksi and Nirav Madoi. Rahul Gandhi, too, had clarified in Surat court that he did not name all Modis as thieves, but had only said Narendra Modi, Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi are thieves. But his clarification did not hold water. It would be advisable if leaders of all political parties take utmost care while making such sweeping remarks.

Modi-baiters must learn from AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi CM, after offering apology in court in a defamation case, is now careful with his remarks. He criticizes Narendra Modi day in and day out, but takes care to ensure that no defamatory remark is made so that he can be hauled before the court. On Thursday, at his ‘Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao’ rally in Delhi, Kejriwal alleged that Modi has been conspiring daily whom to put in jail. “He remains irritable throughout the day, because he sleeps less. He should see a good doctor because he is suffering from insomnia”, said Kejriwal. The language that Kejriwal used against Modi is neither morally acceptable nor decent. Kejriwal can question Modi’s policies, he can criticize his work, everybody has this right in a democracy, but targeting the supreme leader elected by the people of this country is not acceptable in a democracy. To say that the Prime Minister is suffering from insomnia is utterly uncivilized. To stoop such a level in politics are a matter of concern.

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