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Rahul Gandhi never imagined he would lose his Lok Sabha membership for defamation in ‘Modi’ surname case

Congress Leader speaking at Stanford University. Twitter/@RahulGandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, convicted in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark, said he never imagined he would receive the maximum sentence and be disqualified as a as MP for Lok Sabha.

Gandhi made the remarks during a lecture on the campus of Stanford University in California.

Congress leader says he never thought his disqualification from Lok Sabha was possible when he joined politics but says it gave him a ‘huge opportunity’ to work and serve the people .

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“Democracy is not about opposition, it’s about sacred institutions supporting the opposition, and those institutions by capture certainly want to change the role they are meant to play,” Gandhi said. .

He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Wayanad (Kerala) until earlier this year, after which he was disqualified from Lok Sabha following his conviction by a court in Surat in the remark “Modi surname”.

“First person sentenced to maximum sentence for defamation”

The Congress leader said when he joined politics in 2004 he “never imagined what I see happening in our country”.

“It was way outside of what I imagined. To be the first person to receive the first maximum sentence for defamation and the maximum sentence for disqualification. I didn’t imagine something like this was possible,” said Gandhi.

“The opposition is in trouble”

“But then I think it gave me a huge opportunity. Probably much bigger than the opportunity I would have. This is how politics works, said Gandhi, 52.

“I think the drama really started, about six months ago. We were in trouble. The whole opposition is in trouble in India. Huge financial dominance. Institutional capture. We are fighting to lead the democratic struggle in our country,” he said.

It all happened when he and his party leaders decided to march across India (through Bharat Jodo Yatra).

“And we never imagined for a second what would happen when we walked across the country. What would happen not only politically, but in terms of the kind of response we were getting, what would happen to us when we marched across our country,” he said.

Gandhi went on to say that many people asked him what lessons were learned. “And for a long time I couldn’t find an answer…I gathered so much information about the country and what to do. It was a beautiful experience of my life,” he said.

With contributions from agencies

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