Rahul Gandhi could lose his parliamentary seat and go to jail after Indian court rejects his appeal.

Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Indian opposition, has suffered a setback after a judge denied his request for a stay on his recent defamation conviction. As a result, he now faces the possibility of jail time and losing his parliamentary seat while he files an appeal against the guilty judgement.

Gandhi’s attorneys said on Thursday that a Gujarati court had dismissed his request for a stay of execution. Gandhi is now ineligible to hold office as a result of the appeal’s denial, and a byelection will be held in his Kerala constituency.

Gandhi was found guilty of defamation in March by a Gujarati court for remarks he made in 2019 while campaigning, in which he compared prime minister Narendra Modi to two notorious criminals and remarked, “Why is it that all thieves have Modi as a common name?”

Following Gandhi’s remark, Purnesh Modi, a legislator from Modi’s native Gujarat, filed a lawsuit in court, claiming that Gandhi’s speech had insulted and defamed all people with the last name Modi across the nation.

After nearly two years of inactivity, the matter was reopened earlier this year, and Gandhi was found guilty of defamation in March. Gandhi received the harshest punishment, a two-year prison sentence, which the judge attributed to the fact that Gandhi’s “status as a parliamentarian” made his remarks more well known and, hence, more severe.

Gandhi was expelled from parliament less than 24 hours after his conviction, which was the very minimum jail term required. He could be barred from running for political office for six years if his conviction is upheld.

Following the decision, Gandhi was granted 30 days of release. The penalty was deemed “harsh and excessive” by him, and he filed an appeal almost once, claiming that the prosecution was “politically motivated” and that a “cloak of defamation” had been used to force him out of the House of Parliament.

Gandhi’s attorneys have further contended that the punishment was based on “conjecture not evidence” and that the 130 million Indians who go by the name Modi do not constitute a single, collective entity that can be accused of defamation.

Gandhi may have a difficult road in trying to convince the courts to reverse the judgement in the case after the courts declined to grant him relief. Many members of the Congress party anticipate that the case will ultimately reach the Supreme Court.

The defamation action against Gandhi is being exploited by the BJP to attack opposition parties, according to critics and opposition figures, and it is a sign that the judiciary is becoming more politicised.

Many noted that the defamation case against Gandhi only started to pick up steam this year, right around the time that he was drawing attention to prime minister Modi’s connections to Indian industrialist and billionaire Gautam Adani, whose business was recently accused of committing the “largest corporate con in history.” The business has responded to the accusations in-depth.

Gandhi has maintained his political activism while being free on bail, and this week he campaigned in Karnataka, where the Congress is attempting to unseat the BJP in the state elections scheduled for next month. Gandhi said at a gathering earlier this week, “The BJP thinks I can be intimidated with disqualification, but I am not terrified.


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