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|August 25, 1999||
Sonia's candidature challenged in Madras high court
A public-interest petition has been filed in the Madras high court against Congress president Sonia Gandhi's candidature, on the ground that she is Italian by birth.
The petitioner, Saravanan of Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri district, wants Chief Election Commissioner Manohar Singh Gill to reject her nomination papers.
"Gandhi is not a fit and proper person to rule our people as she does not know our tradition and culture," Saravanan claimed.
She had married Rajiv Gandhi in 1968, the petition continued. In 1973, though she became eligible to apply for Indian citizenship, she did not do so. She applied only in 1983 as Rajiv Gandhi had the chance to become prime minister, Saravanan claimed.
He alleged that after the expiry of her visa in 1968, Gandhi did not report to the authorities as required by Indian law, though she was well aware of the requirement.
Saravanan said that when the Bofors controversy broke out, Gandhi, though an Indian citizen by then, had not rendered any assistance to the Central Bureau of Investigation which was probing the case.
Even after she entered politics, she had not disclosed whether she had any links with Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the case.
In 1980, when she was still an Italian, she became a voter in India. This was illegal and against the national interest, he added.
As per section 4 of the Citizenship Rules, 1956, anyone wanting to acquire Indian citizenship has to renounce his or her earlier citizenship. But Gandhi had not wanted to give up her Italian citizenship, Saravanan submitted.
In April this year, she made an attempt to rule India by making a false statement to the effect that she had majority support in the Lok Sabha, he said. She might try once again to become prime minister illegally and unconstitutionally, he contended.
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