Rahul Gandhi Gets 2 Years Jail In ‘Modi Surname’ Case, 30 Days To Appeal

Rahul Gandhi, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress, has been found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. The court in Surat, Gujarat, granted him bail and suspended his sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal the decision.

The case was filed against Mr Gandhi by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi for his remarks at a rally in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Mr Gandhi had questioned why all thieves had the surname Modi, a reference to fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi, who share the same last name as the Prime Minister.

Following the verdict, Mr Gandhi quoted Mahatma Gandhi in a tweet, saying, “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it.” His sister and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also expressed support, saying that the power of truth and the love of crores of countrymen were with him.

Mr Gandhi’s arrival in Surat was met with a show of support from members and supporters of the Congress party. Posters and placards extolled him as ‘Sher-e-Hindustan’ (Lion of India), and the Congress party declared that it would not bow before the dictatorship of the BJP.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) boss Arvind Kejriwal tweeted his disagreement with the verdict, saying that it was not right to implicate Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case like this.

Mr Gandhi’s lawyer argued that the court proceedings were flawed from the beginning and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have been the complainant in the case as he was the main target of Gandhi’s speech.

This conviction is one of several cases filed against Mr Gandhi, who has been a vocal critic of the BJP and Prime Minister Modi.

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