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BJP asks if Congress want complete freedom for Rahul Gandhi to abuse others, seeks his apology

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Thursday asserted that the law has to take its course if Rahul Gandhi abuses people and slammed the Congress over its criticism of his conviction in a defamation case, asking whether the opposition party wants ”complete freedom” for him to ”abuse” others.

BJP leader and former law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad cautioned Gandhi, saying he will find himself facing ”more troubles” if he doesn’t refrain from making defamatory remarks, while Union Minister Piyush Goyal asked the Congress leader to apologise for his series of ”defamatory” comments.

Both the leaders also hit out at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for questioning the court’s order by noting that several judges hearing the matter were changed. ”They should come out of their dynastic mindset and realise that no one is above the law,” Goyal told reporters, while Prasad accused Kharge of contempt of court at another presser. It was ”grossly unfair” on the part of Kharge to make such comments, Prasad said.

Making such comments show that the Congress does not believe in the judiciary, he said and asked, ”Does it want to keep even the judiciary in its pocket.” ”If they think that they would get action in their favour by levelling allegations against the judiciary and putting pressure on it, it is their misconception,” he said. Asked whether Gandhi will be disqualified from Lok Sabha, Prasad cited the provisions made in the Representation of People Act in this regard and said it is for Speaker Om Birla to decide. ”This is speaker’s decision. I don’t have to say anything on that,” he said.

On Thursday, a court in Gujarat’s Surat sentenced Gandhi to two years in jail in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his ”Modi surname” remarks.

The case was filed against the Congress MP for his alleged ”how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?” remark on a complaint lodged by BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi.

Goyal said, ”We are all in public life and have to chose our words wisely and maintain basic decorum and dignity in public discourse. Gandhi has disrespected people and every democratic institution be in Parliament or democracy. He should apologise for his series of defamatory statements.” The BJP leaders in this context mentioned various allegations levelled by the former Congress president, be it during his recent visit to Britain or in the Rafale case. Prasad said Gandhi with his comments insulted people with Modi surname, asserting that it was very much defamatory.

”The Congress party and others are saying many things but they are not saying what Rahul Gandhi had said,” he said and asked, ”Won’t any action be taken against you if you insult a surname in such a way?” He said Gandhi got the opportunity to defend his case and his lawyers argued in the court before the verdict was given. He has been convicted in the case because the court was not convinced with the arguments made in his defence, Prasad added.

It has become Gandhi’s ”nature” to weaken and defame the country as well as level the ”filthiest abuse like accusations” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, Prasad said, cautioning him against continuing with such remarks.

A number of defamation cases has been filed against Gandhi for his remarks, he said.

Referring to the defamation case in Gujarat, Prasad said a similar case was filed against Gandhi in Patna by BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and its proceedings are underway.

The BJP leader also took a swipe at Gandhi for his remarks in a tweet after the court’s verdict in his case in Gujarat, asking if his faith in truth and non-violence meant insulting people by abusing them citing their caste. ”You will abuse freely, insult country’s Army, make fun of the Martyrs’ supreme sacrifices, insult patriotism, insult people’s votes, people’s manadate and say you are worshipper of ‘satya’ (truth) and ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence),” he charged.

Prasad said if the Congress leader has the right to abuse people, those aggrieved also have right to file case against him. ”Does Congress want Rahul Gandhi to have complete freedom to abuse people? There is rule of law in the country and it will prevail,” the BJP leader said, alleging that the Congress leader has a history of making defamatory comments and unfounded allegations.

”The law of India has it that if an individual or an organisation has been defamed with scurrilous statements, scandalous comments, abuses or any defamatory remarks, then he has a right to seek redress. But the Congress party has an objection. It wants complete freedom for Rahul Gandhi to throw abuses,” he added. Prasad also lashed out at Gandhi for his recent democracy remarks in the UK, saying democracy is run by certain probity and propriety with regard to fair play.

”One of the most element of that is you please respect the popular verdict,” he added.

Source: Press Trust of India

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