Mumbai: The disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a defamation case had its echo in the Maharashtra Legislature on Friday. Opposition parties in the Assembly staged a noisy walkout to protest the disqualification.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Nana Patole said, “We condemn the decision to disqualify Rahul Gandhi. As a mark of protest, we decided to walkout from the Assembly.” Thereafter, Congress MLAs and MLCs staged a demonstration at the main staircase of the Vidhan Bhavan.
Slogans raised against Prime Minister Modi
NCP and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena MLAs joined the Congress protest later. They chanted slogans against Prime Minister Modi and the BJP and in support of Rahul Gandhi.
Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray denounced the disqualification. He sarcastically commented that “calling thieves as thieves has now become an offence in our country”. He also alleged that disqualification is a “massacre of democracy”. The Congress is a part of the MVA combine, which includes the Congress and the NCP.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Ajit Pawar flayed the move and said “this has put democracy in peril”.
BJP hits back
BJP MLA from Kandivali, Atul Bhatkhalkar said in the Assembly, “I fail to understand the protest. This law to disqualify a member (if sentenced for two years or more) was passed during the regime of the Congress. When this law is being implemented, the very Congress party is up in arms. This is sheer hypocrisy.”
Patole says Rahul's disqualification against democracy
Patole told newspersons outside the Assembly that “the disqualification is against democracy”. He said, “In the last nine years, Neerav Modi, Lalit Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya have duped thousands of crores of banks and they are at large. But the Central government always supported them. Rahul Gandhi has raised voice against them. Government did not allow the opposition to speak in the Lok Sabha. Even street protests were curbed. This is against the Constitution.”
A Surat court has sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail for defaming Modi surname. Thereafter, within 24 hours, his membership in Parliament was dismissed by the Lok Sabha Speaker on Friday.
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