Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Thursday (March 23) held guilty and sentenced to two years in jail in a 2019 defamation case over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname by a court in Gujarat’s Surat.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court held Gandhi guilty under Indian Penal Code sections 499 and 500. However, The court also granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal in a higher court.
Gandhi allegedly said “how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” during a rally in Kolar, Karnataka in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi filed a petition against Gandhi for this remark.
Soon after the verdict, Rahul Gandhi quoting Mahatma Gandhi in a tweet said “my religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it. — Mahatma Gandhi. ” he tweeted in Hindi.
In a tweet, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the “whole machinery of scared power” was trying to suppress the voice of Gandhi by “imposing price, punishment, discrimination”. “My brother has never been afraid, nor will he ever be. Have lived speaking the truth, will continue to speak the truth. Will continue to raise the voice of the people of the country,” she said.
Slamming the BJP, Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge said “If they point one finger at others there are four fingers pointed at them also.”
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said that Gandhi was being punished for speaking the truth and raising his voice against the “dictator”. “If you raise your voice against injustice, then ED-CBI, Police, FIR will be imposed on everyone,” he added.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he “disagreed” with the verdict. “A conspiracy is being hatched to eliminate non-BJP leaders and parties by prosecuting them. We have differences with the Congress, but it is not right to implicate Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case like this. It is the job of the public and the opposition to ask questions. We respect the court but disagree with the decision,” he said.