Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders say that the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as an MP is an “automatic” event given the 2013 Supreme Court judgment in the Lily Thomas case and pointed out that the Congress has still not shown the urgency to go to a sessions court to secure a stay on the conviction.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Friday questioned why Gandhi had been disqualified as an MP within a day of the court order. When asked why the Congress had still not appealed to a higher court, he said it takes “two-three days” to complete the legal process to approach a sessions court for a stay on the conviction.
But BJP leader and Senior Minister Anurag Thakur said there was a “conspiracy by Congress leaders” against Rahul Gandhi as the battery of lawyers in the Congress did not go for appeal against the conviction even 24 hours later, although they did so within hours for Pawan Khera. Thakur said it seems some in the Congress wanted to get rid of Rahul Gandhi.
Another BJP leader told News18 that the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi was being “falsely presented by Congress as a sudden, unforeseen and unsolicited action against Rahul Gandhi”.
The SC judgment implies that Gandhi incurred automatic disqualification once the judgment for conviction was passed and that the Lok Sabha Speaker has only confirmed the legal position as he was not required to take any decision or pass any speaking order, Thakur said.
BJP leaders are pointing out why the Congress has so far made no appeal to any legal authority in the country even over 24 hours after the judgment, to secure a stay.
Thakur said the Congress had knocked on the door of the Supreme Court immediately to obtain a stay after their spokesperson Pawan Khera was deplaned and arrested.
All eyes are in fact now on the Election Commission of India which may soon announce a by-poll on the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat which is now vacant after Gandhi’s disqualification order from the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
Incidentally, the Manmohan Singh government had brought an ordinance against the Supreme Court ruling of 2013, which was also passed by the Cabinet, but it was Rahul Gandhi who had torn that ordinance to derail the move. The matter has now come full circle with Gandhi being disqualified from Parliament.