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Indian Election: Opposition Lawmaker, Rahul Gandhi disqualified

Leading Indian opposition politician, Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified from office as a lawmaker.

This happened a day after he was given a jail sentence for remarks he made in 2019 about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname at an election rally.

A message from the parliament secretariat Friday said Gandhi belonged to the Indian National Congress Party and represented Wayanad in the southern state of Kerala.

He was disqualified according to constitutional and legal provisions.

Legal experts said this meant that not only would Gandhi not be able to attend parliament but that he might not stand as a candidate in the next general elections due in 2024.

A provision of Indian law disqualified any member of parliament who had been sentenced to two or more years in jail.

It also prohibited the person from serving in parliament for six years after he had completed his sentence.

“Rahul Gandhi will be appealing against the verdict,’’ senior Congress party leader Mallikarjun Kharge said.

The party in a statement said the verdict was erroneous and unsustainable.

Gandhi could return to parliament or fight elections only if he was acquitted or his sentence was suspended by a higher court.

The judicial process was known to move slowly in India.

A court in Modi’s home state Gujarat had sentenced Gandhi on Thursday for comments where he had listed Modi’s name with that of fugitive businessmen who had been charged with cheating and other financial crimes.

All of them shared the name Modi, and Gandhi rhetorically asked why all thieves share that name.

The trial was initiated by Purnesh Modi, a lawmaker from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who also shared the prime minister’s name but is no relation. 



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