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Rahul gets hero's welcome at Congress hq, says truth always wins

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: August 04, 2023 22:02 IST
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The Congress on Friday said the Supreme Court staying Rahul Gandhi's conviction in a defamation case is the victory of truth, democracy and the Constitution, with the former party chief asserting that he will continue to protect the “idea of India”.

IMAGE: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi waves to supporters as he leaves the AICC headquarters, New Delhi, August 4, 2023. Photograph: Mohammed Zakir/ANI Photo

Party president Mallikarjun Kharge hailed the Supreme Court ruling as a "victory of the people" and said that while just 24 hours were taken to disqualify Gandhi from the Lok Sabha after his conviction, it is to be seen how long will it take to reinstate him after the apex court relief.

Soon after the court ruling, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury met Speaker Om Birla and urged him to reinstate Gandhi at the earliest.

"We have met the Lok Sabha speaker and have urged him to restore Gandhi's membership in the Lok Sabha after the Supreme Court has granted him relief. We want that Rahul Gandhi should speak on the 'no-confidence motion' against the government in the Lok Sabha on August 8," he said.

Gandhi, who was accorded a grand welcome by party workers at the AICC headquarters soon after the court ruling, briefly addressed the media saying, "Truth always triumphs, if not today then tomorrow or the day after. I thank people for their support."

"My path is clear to me (as to) what is my work, there is clarity in my mind about that. I thank the people who helped us and the people for their love and support that they extended," he told reporters.

"Come what may, my duty remains the same. Protect the idea of India," Gandhi said in a tweet.


Ecstatic party workers at the AICC headquarters danced to the beats of drums, distributed sweets and unfurled the Congress flag to welcome Gandhi.

The former Congress chief visited the party office along with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who earlier tweeted citing a quote by Gautam Buddha -- "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth."

Congress spokesperson and Gandhi's counsel Abhishek Singhvi asserted that any delay in Rahul Gandhi's reinstatement as a Lok Sabha member on account of "excuses" by the government would be mala fide, unfair and "completely contrary to the heart and soul of parliamentary democracy".

The Opposition party said if the government delays his reinstatement by making excuses as the ones it made in the case of NCP MP Mohammad Faizal, it will have no alternative but to take legal recourse.

IMAGE: Congress workers and supporters celebrate after the Supreme Court’s stay on Rahul Gandhi's conviction in a defamation case, Mumbai, August 4, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Kharge said it is a day of happiness and welcomed the Supreme Court ruling.

"It is a day of happiness, democracy has won, Constitution has won, Satymeva Jayate."

"This is the victory of the common people. This is not just Rahul Gandhi's victory, this is the victory of all the people of the country, victory of democracy and of constitutional principles," he said.

"Constitution is alive and this is an example that one can get justice. This is the victory of the common people and of constitutional principles," he added.

"The person who fights for truth, for the country's interest, to strengthen the country, for the youth of the country, against rising prices, the person who fights and makes people aware, who walked 4,000 km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and met various people, I think their prayers are with us and it is, therefore, victory of the people," the Congress president said.

Congress's general secretary organisation K C Venugopal also hailed the verdict.

"We welcome the hon'ble Supreme Court's verdict staying Sh. Rahul Gandhi ji's conviction. Justice has prevailed. No force can silence the voice of the people," Venugopal said on Twitter.

In a tweet in Hindi, the Congress said, "It is a victory of love over hate. Satyamev Jayate -- Jai Hind."

Party general secretary Randeep Surjewala said justice has prevailed.

"The roar of truth will be heard again the halls of democracy," he said.

"Congratulations India. Today, the power of truth, the courage and hopes of crores of countrymen has won at the altar of justice. Despite attempts and conspiracies... the true custodian of the country's democracy and constitution won," Surjewala said.

Senior party leader P Chidambaram said, "We maintain that the case was manufactured with the sole intention of keeping Mr Rahul Gandhi from Parliament."

IMAGE: Congress party president Mallikarjun Kharge shows the victory sign with Rahul Gandhi during a press conference at the Congress hq, New Delhi, August 4, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the judgment is a strong vindication of truth and justice.

"Despite the relentless efforts of the BJP's machinery, Rahul Gandhi has refused to bend, break or bow, choosing instead to place his faith in the judicial process," he said on Twitter.

Chowdhury also said that "we fear the government may create hurdles and have urged the speaker not to delay the revocation of Rahul Gandhi's disqualification".

Singhvi said everyone was now looking forward to hearing the former party president speak in Parliament.

"This entire country has heard and seen Rahul Gandhi in action inside and outside Parliament. His actions, his speech, his thought process, his abhiyaans (campaigns) are ultimately animated by his thinking -- daro mat. He has demonstrated time and again the courage of his convictions," Singhvi said.

"Rahul Gandhi has shown exemplary courage, restraint and faith in the judicial process. This entire incident has demonstrated the vital importance of an opposition which will not be backing down. Which is Rahul Gandhi's calling card -- 'don't back down’," he said.

"This has also demonstrated how the opposition, and principal voice among them is Rahul Gandhi, doesn't yield on important issues such as farmers' issues and unemployment," he said.

Asked what would be the course of action if there is a delay in the reinstatement of Gandhi as a Lok Sabha MP, Singhvi said, "You can find many excuses... I can find 10 more excuses... It will show mala fide, it will be unfair, it will be graceless and it will be completely contrary to the heart and soul of parliamentary democracy which requires certain etiquette and give and take."

Asked if the speaker may need to seek the opinion of the law ministry, Singhvi said the answer was "an emphatic no".

"Just as we have faith in courts and justice, we have faith in democracy. I said I have hope and trust that will not have to do in this case what I had to do in the Lakshdweep case. That hope and trust remains for a couple of more days. Ultimately if that is belied and betrayed then as law abiding citizens we will have to go to court," he said.

He said lower courts have repeatedly said that Gandhi should apologise but he asserted he is fighting on principles.

Earlier in the day, in a big relief to Gandhi, the Supreme Court stayed his conviction in the 2019 defamation case over his Modi surname remark, paving the way for the revival of his Lok Sabha membership.

The Lok Sabha speaker can now restore his membership on his own or Gandhi, armed with the apex court order, seek restoration of his status as an MP.

A three-judge bench of justices B R Gavai, P S Narasimha and Sanjay Kumar said no reason was given by the trial court judge while convicting Gandhi except that he was admonished by the apex court in a contempt case.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.