New Delhi: Barely a day after he was disqualified from the Indian Parliament, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday had a very public spat with a journalist who questioned him on his recent conviction in a defamation case. The Congress leader allegedly insulted the journalist during his first media interaction after being disqualified from the Lok Sabha.
During the press briefing, when a journalist questioned him on his conviction in the ‘Modi surname’ defamation case, Gandhi lashed out at the reporter and said, “Don’t pretend to be a journalist…Kyun hawa nikal gayi?”
But what exactly was it that irked an already visibly combative Gandhi? The journalist allegedly drew a reference to Gandhi having earlier insulted the entire OBC community. He also claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was mulling media interactions across the country to highlight Gandhi’s conviction in the defamation case and subsequent disqualification from Parliament.
“See, your first attempt was from there (pointing towards his left), second attempt was from there (pointing towards the middle) and the third attempt is from here (pointing towards his right). Why are you so directly working for the BJP? Do it with some discretion at least? See, now he (the journalist) is smiling. Let me give you an example… If you want to work for the BJP, then wear a BJP symbol (badge) here and put it on your chest. Then I will answer you in the same way I answer them. Just don’t pretend to be a reporter,” Gandhi said calling out the journalist in question.
The Congress leader further claimed that he had been disqualified from Parliament since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scared of what he may reveal during his next speech. He also referred to Veer Savarkar to answer why he had not apologised over his remarks in London and during the defamation trial in which he was convicted. “I have been disqualified as the Prime Minister is scared of my next speech. I have seen fear in his eyes. That’s why they don’t want me to speak in the Parliament,” said the Congress leader.
He said his voice could not be silenced by disqualifying him or putting him in jail and that he would just continue with his fight against the BJP-led Centre, despite obstacles in his path. “Disqualify me for life, jail me for life, I will continue going,” he added.
But when questioned, Gandhi did not clarify anything about his or the Congress party’s next legal or political course of action following the disqualification.
Rahul Gandhi was convicted by a Surat court on Thursday in a 2019 criminal defamation case. Later, after the Court’s ruling, he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha and lost his position as a Member of Parliament.