- Parliament disqualifies the main opposition leader day after Gujarat court jails him for two years in a defamation case linked to Modi’s surname.
NEW DELHI (News Agencies): India’s main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified as a member of parliament, a day after being convicted in a defamation case and sentenced to two years in jail.
“Rahul Gandhi… stands disqualified from the member of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction,” a notice issued by the parliament said on Friday, referring to the lower house.
Gandhi, 52, was found guilty for a speech ahead of the 2019 general election in which he referred to thieves as having the surname Modi.
Gandhi, a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family and former president of the Congress party, will appeal in a higher court, the party said.
Congress officials have described the court order as politically motivated and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of targeting political opponents.
Earlier on Friday, Congress members held protests in some parts of the country against Gandhi’s conviction and two-year-old jail sentence.
Modi’s government has been widely accused of using the defamation law to target and silence critics. The case in Gujarat is one of several lodged against Gandhi, Modi’s chief opponent.