Rahul Gandhi, a former member of the Congress party and Lok Sabha MP, is set to appeal a lower court’s verdict in the Modi surname defamation case in Surat, Gujarat today. The case was brought against him by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi after Gandhi made a statement in April 2019 during his Lok Sabha campaign, where he compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to wanted criminals Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi. The lower court found him guilty of criminal defamation for saying “all thieves have the Modi surname” and he was subsequently removed from the Lok Sabha and asked to vacate his official apartment in New Delhi by April 22.
Reacting to Gandhi’s planned journey, Sambit Patra of the BJP criticized the Congress leader for not apologizing to the OBC community for insulting them and called him “arrogant”. Union Minister Kiren Rijiju also accused Gandhi of trying to put pressure on the appellate court with his actions, which he claimed were unusable in any court in the country.
If the sentence is upheld, Gandhi could be barred from running in elections for the next eight years. The Congress party has claimed that the Modi administration is targeting Gandhi, while the BJP has maintained that this is simply a matter of the law taking its course.