The Congress expressed solidarity with former party chief Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday and accused the Centre of acting in haste as part of a conspiracy to disqualify him from the Lok Sabha after his conviction in a 2019 defamation case, which he is likely to challenge very soon.
Sources said a petition challenging Gandhi’s conviction and sentencing by a trial court in Gujarat’s Surat is ready.
The top legal advisors of the Congress are giving finishing touches to the review petition, which will be filed before the Surat sessions court “very shortly”, they added.
Several Congress leaders held press meets across the country in Gandhi’s support and highlighted how he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha within a day of his conviction in a “false” case.
Congress leaders and supporters posted their pictures on social media, offering their houses to Gandhi since the Lok Sabha Secretariat has sent him an eviction notice for his 12, Tughlak Lane official bungalow in Delhi after his conviction.
Gandhi has been sentenced to two years in jail by the Surat court over his remarks on the Modi surname, following which he was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha.
The Congress has said it will fight the matter both politically and legally, and take the issue to the public.
Meanwhile, Gandhi visited the Congress office in the Parliament House complex, met some party workers and asked them whether both houses of Parliament were functioning or not.
He spent around 20 minutes at the party office and along with her mother and Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, met Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut and others to sort out differences over his anti-Savarkar remarks.
Rahul Gandhi did not talk to the media.
Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were also present at the party office in the Parliament House complex.
In a reprieve for Gandhi, the Election Commission (EC) has said it is in no hurry to announce a bypoll to the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala as the trial court has given the Congress leader a month’s time to appeal against its order.
Gandhi represented the Wayanad seat in the Lok Sabha before his disqualification.
“There is no hurry, we will wait. There is no hurry to do it before exhausting that particular remedy which the trial court has accorded. We will take a call after that,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar told a press conference here.
He said the vacancy in the Wayanad parliamentary seat was notified on March 23 and according to the law in this regard, a bypoll has to be conducted within six months.
Kumar said the law also states that if the remainder of the term is less than a year, a bypoll will not be held.
The CEC, however, added that in the case of Wayanad, the remainder of the term is more than a year.
With inputs from News18