Opposition rallies behind Rahul Gandhi


After Congressman Rahul Gandhi was given a two-year prison sentence in a defamation case on Thursday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal publicly backed him. He also claimed a plot was being planned to “eliminate” non-BJP leaders and parties by bringing legal action against them. The Congress and the AAP have in the past avoided taking each other’s side on various issues.
On Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party indicated a softening in its stance toward Congress after a court in Gujarat’s Surat held Gandhi guilty of defamation for his 2019 “Modi surname” remark. “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,” Kejriwal said in a tweet. AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha said opposition forms the core of democracy, and dissent should not be stifled.
“We respectfully disagree with the court verdict against Rahul Gandhi. Opposition forms the core of democracy. Dissent should not be stifled. India has a strong tradition of critique. “Any attempt to reduce this to the viewpoint of one ideology, one party, or one leader is unconstitutional and undemocratic,” he tweeted.
On the other side is the TN Chief Minister and DMK party leader, MK Stalin, who said in a tweet that he spoke to “brother” Rahul Gandhi and conveyed his solidarity. The DMK chief, a key ally of the Congress, also accused the BJP of trampling democratic rights. “It’s highly deplorable & unprecedented that a leader like Thiru @RahulGandhi is convicted for a comment which he himself said it was not made with blameworthy mind,” Stalin said, as Congress leaders and workers staged protests in Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. In what is seen as a shift in the AAP’s stance towards the Congress, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal openly supported Rahul Gandhi and alleged a conspiracy was being hatched to “eliminate” non-BJP leaders and parties by prosecuting them. The Congress and the AAP have in the past avoided taking each other’s side on various issues. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said on Thursday that the action against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is an occasion for “fight, not fright,” and all parties opposed to the ruling BJP at the Center must come together “without delay.” The RJD leader, whose party has been a Congress ally for two decades, was reacting to the conviction of Gandhi by a Gujarat court in a defamation case. “Yeh darne ka nahin, ladne ka waqt hai (It’s the time to fight, not fright)”, Yadav said. He said he will not comment on the court order but the people of the country are understanding the reason behind the treatment being meted out to Gandhi. He recalled that his father Lalu Prasad, the RJD president, “has been saying since 2014 that the country is passing through a phase of an undeclared Emergency” wherein “all people, be they of any political orientation and involved in any profession, face persecution if they criticise the regime”.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut also added that former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in a criminal defamation case indicates that central agencies and courts are heading towards a direction that invites dictatorship and suppresses the voice of the opposition.