• Monday, June 17, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Haunting history: 10 years ago, Rahul Gandhi trashed his own govt ordinance that could save him from disqualification

Rahul Gandhi (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

For Indian National Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, history came full circle on Friday (24) when the secretariat of India’s Lok Sabha or Lower House of parliament disqualified him from being a member of parliament following his conviction in a criminal defamation case a day earlier by a court in the western state of Gujarat.

The former Congress chief’s disqualification from the lower chamber comes under an order of the Supreme Court of India that his party itself had tried to overturn using an ordinance in 2013 when it was in power in Delhi.

In April 2013, the apex court had held that members of India’s parliament and legislative assembly convicted with a minimum sentence of two years would be disqualified from the house/assembly immediately without getting three months to appeal, as the case was then.

In September the same year, The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government of Manmohan Singh rushed an ordinance seeking to overturn the rule that disqualifies convicted lawmakers.

Gandhi, who was the party’s vice president then, openly opposed the party’s decision as “complete nonsense” and even tore up a piece of paper at a press conference suggesting his disapproval.

“I personally think what the government is doing on the ordinance is wrong. It was a political decision, every party does it, and there is a time to stop this nonsense… If we actually want to stop corruption then we cannot make these compromises,” Gandhi had said underscoring a seeming division within his party.

He said the ordinance should be “torn and thrown out” before tearing up the paper.

Gandhi faced criticism for allegedly belittling his own party’s government and prime minister who were battling against a growing anti-incumbency wave, thanks to corruption cases against the UPA II government.

The embattled government scrapped the ordinance and less than a year after that incident, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power and Narendra Modi became the prime minister.

Fast forward to today, the Lok Sabha disqualified Gandhi over his conviction in a criminal defamation case filed by a BJP leader in Gujarat for allegedly asking whether people with the surname “Modi” are “thieves”.

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