Congress preparing petition to challenge Rahul’s conviction

New Delhi : The Congress is learnt to have prepared the petition challenging their leader Rahul Gandhi’s conviction and sentencing by a trial court in Surat in a defamation case.

Sources said the party’s top legal advisers are working on the review petition which will be filed before the Surat sessions court in a day or two.

Rahul also visited the party’s office in the Parliament House complex and met some members there and spent around 20 minutes at the party office and also called on Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut and others.

He later left along with his mother and Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi for lunch. 

This was his first visit to Parliament after being disqualified as a MP.

The Congress has said it will fight the matter both politically and legally and will take the issue to the public.

The former Congress chief was convicted and was given a two-year sentence in the 2019 defamation case over his remarks on “Modi surname”, following which he was disqualified as MP of Lok Sabha.

The grand old party is also studying the matter of NCP leader Mohammed Faizal’s plea against his disqualification as Member of Parliament in view of Lok Sabha secretariat’s notification restoring his membership that was disposed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The bench said it is leaving the question of maintainability of the plea open. Senior Congress leader and advocate of the case, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, produced the notification before the court and said now that his membership has been restored, nothing survives in his plea. “It took two months for the Lok Sabha to revoke his disqualification. It was done on Wednesday morning”, Singhvi said and handed over the notification to the court.

Faizal was disqualified from Lok Sabha on January 13, after he and three others were sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs one lakh each by a sessions court in Kavaratti for attempting to murder Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of the late Union Minister PM Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The trial court had on January 11 convicted and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment in the case. Later, the High Court stayed the conviction and the sentence imposed upon Faizal.

Congress Whip in Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore said the Government has deliberately disqualified Rahul under a well-planned conspiracy to not allow him to attend Parliament during this Budget Session. “This is a totally false case and his disqualification has come to keep him away from Parliament. But, we will fight it both legally and politically,” he told reporters outside Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission said it was in no hurry to announce bye-election to Wayanad constituency as the trail court has given Rahul one month to appeal against the court order. “There is no hurry, we will wait. There is no hurry to do it before exhausting that particular remedy which the trial court had accorded. We will take a call after that,” Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said at a Press conference.

He said the vacancy in the Wayanad parliamentary party was notified on March 23 this year and as per the law, a bypoll has to be conducted within six months. Kumar said the law also States that if the remainder of the term was less than one year, then the election will not be held. The CEC said that in the case of Wayanad, the remainder of the term is more than a year.

Rahul who came to Parliament for a meeting convened for the party MPs of Lok Sabh and Rajya Sabha did not talk to the media. Congress leaders K C Venugopal and Adhir Ranjan Chowdury were also present at the party’s parliamentary office.