Rahul Gandhi, who was found guilty in a 2019 criminal defamation case for his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname, has quoted Mahatma Gandhi in response to the verdict. The Surat court sentenced him to two years in prison, but he was later granted bail, and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to allow him to appeal the court’s decision. In a tweet, Mr. Gandhi quoted Mahatma Gandhi, saying, “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, and non-violence is the means to achieve it.”
मेरा धर्म सत्य और अहिंसा पर आधारित है। सत्य मेरा भगवान है, अहिंसा उसे पाने का साधन।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 23, 2023
– महात्मा गांधी
BJP MLA and ex-Gujarat minister, Purnesh Modi, had accused Mr. Gandhi of defamation for his statement “How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?” made during a pre-2019 Lok Sabha election rally in Kolar, Karnataka. Mr. Gandhi cited a quote from Mahatma Gandhi after being found guilty by a Surat court in the criminal defamation case filed against him.
Though initially sentenced to two years imprisonment, Mr. Gandhi was granted bail and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to appeal the court’s judgment. Mr. Gandhi’s sister and Congress leader, Priyanka Gandhi, criticized the verdict on Twitter, stating that the ruling machinery was attempting to suppress her brother’s voice.
डरी हुई सत्ता की पूरी मशीनरी साम, दाम, दंड, भेद लगाकर @RahulGandhi जी की आवाज को दबाने की कोशिश कर रही है।— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) March 23, 2023
मेरे भाई न कभी डरे हैं, न कभी डरेंगे। सच बोलते हुए जिये हैं, सच बोलते रहेंगे। देश के लोगों की आवाज उठाते रहेंगे।
सच्चाई की ताकत व करोड़ों देशवासियों का प्यार उनके साथ है।
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was accused of a “conspiracy” to eliminate opposition leaders and parties, alleging that cases are being filed against the leaders of non-BJP parties. Kejriwal stated that although he has differences with Rahul Gandhi, he does not agree with the verdict of trapping him in a defamation case. “I respect the court, but don’t agree with the verdict,” said Mr. Kejriwal. Congress chief Malikarjun Kharge stated that the party will seek legal recourse to fight the conviction and that Mr. Gandhi has been granted bail.
Furthermore, Mr. Gandhi’s lawyer argued that PM Modi, rather than Purnesh Modi, should have been the complainant in the case, as he was the main target of Mr. Gandhi’s speech. The lawyer also claimed that the court’s proceedings were “flawed” from the start.