Indian American lawmaker calls it â€œa deep betrayal of Gandhian philosophy and Indiaâ€™s deepest valuesâ€
Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna has decried opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi’s expulsion from Indian Parliament following his conviction in a criminal defamation case as â€œa deep betrayal of Gandhian philosophy and Indiaâ€™s deepest values.â€
â€œThe expulsion of Rahul Gandhi from parliament is a deep betrayal of Gandhian philosophy and Indiaâ€™s deepest values.â€ he tweeted Friday. â€œThis is not what my grandfather sacrificed years in jail for.â€
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Khanna also called upon Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get the Lok Sabha secretariatâ€™s decision to disqualify the four term member reversed â€œfor the sake of democracy.â€
â€œ@narendramodi you have the power to reverse this decision for the the sake of Indian democracy,â€ he tweeted.
Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley in the House of Representatives, was reacting to a New York Times tweet saying, â€œRahul Gandhi was expelled from Indiaâ€™s Parliament, removing one of the last national figures opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.â€
But a combative Rahul Gandhi claimed at a press conference in New Delhi Saturday that he was expelled from parliament because the Prime Minister is scared of his next speech.
“I have been disqualified as the Prime Minister is scared of my next speech. I have seen fear in his eyes. That’s why they don’t want me to speak in the Parliament,” he said.
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Responding to BJP’s calls for apology, he said, “My name is not Savarkar (a Hindu nationalist freedom fighter who wrote a series of mercy petitions to the British to get himself released from prison in 1924). I am a Gandhi. I won’t apologize.”
“I have only one step and that’s to fight for truth and to defend democratic nature of this country,â€ he said. â€œDisqualify me for life, jail me for life, I will continue going.â€
Gandhi was debarred from Lok Sabha a day after he was sentenced to two years in prison by a court in Surat, Gujarat for his 2019 comments about Modi’s surname at an election rally.
Gandhi, who was present in court for sentencing on Thursday, remains out of jail on bail for 30 days and will appeal.
Speaking at a rally in Karnataka state in April 2019, Gandhi had said: “Why do all these thieves have Modi as their surname? Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi.â€
Nirav Modi is a fugitive Indian diamond tycoon while Lalit Modi is a former chief of the Indian Premier League who has been banned for life by the country’s cricket board.
Gandhi argues that he made the comment to highlight corruption and it was not directed against any community.
The case against Rahul Gandhi was filed on the basis of a complaint by Purnesh Modi, a BJP lawmaker who said his comments had defamed the entire Modi community.