Speaks against BJP for targeting him, those against saffron party
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and party President Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi on Friday. Pic/ANI
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha created a furore in the state legislature on Friday. The Opposition staged a walk-out in protest and spoke in one voice, criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party for targeting Gandhi in particular, and anti-BJP people in general.
The news broke while Opposition leader in the Assembly Ajit Pawar was questioning the state’s law and order situation while speaking on last week's resolution put up by the MVA. State Congress president Nana Patole took up his party leader’s disqualification, calling it “an act of killing democracy”. He condemned the disqualification and walked out with the rest of his Opposition colleagues.
State Congress and NCP leaders protest Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification at Vidhan Bhavan on Friday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
BJP’s Atul Bhatkhalkar responded to Patole, saying that Gandhi was disqualified as per the law, which he had opposed when the Congress was in power. “By this law, any MP or legislator who has been given a jail sentence of two years or more gets disqualified. Why are you blaming others?” he asked.
Outside the House, the Opposition stood united. Patole, Pawar and Balasaheb Thorat promised to fight it out.
Also Read: Mumbai: BJP to hold state-wide protests against Rahul Gandhi on Saturday
Patole said the Congress has decided to take to the streets against the BJP. Thorat said the BJP was scared for Gandhi. “Disqualification of Rahulji is the murder of democracy,” he said.
Pawar recalled how the people of India had returned the late Indira Gandhi to power after being subjected to similar treatment (like disqualification and arrest). “What is happening isn’t likeable and doesn’t fit the democratic process. The people have been seeing what is happening in the country and will react,” he added.
“Just like Indira Gandhiji defeated the Janata Party, Rahul too, will defeat the BJP, and become prime minister,” said Thorat.
The BJP will stage a protest against Gandhi, demanding an apology from him for insulting the other backward classes (OBCs) by making a remark against the people who share the surname Modi (the court verdict has been delivered in the same case).
City BJP president Ashish Shelar said the protest will be held in six Lok Sabha constituencies. State president Chandrashekhar Bawankule will lead one in south Mumbai.
Cong leader supports BJP
Congress leader Ashish Deshmukh said Gandhi should tender an apology to OBCs across the country. “This must be done to save the Congress from the OBCs’ backlash in the forthcoming elections. If Rahulji had said anything wrong in 2019, it would be right to seek pardon. It isn’t right to call a particular community thieves. Rahulji had tendered an apology twice before in some issues,” added Deshmukh.
End of democracy: Uddhav
Former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said it was the beginning of the end of democracy and the emergence of dictatorship. He said it was good that the Opposition was united in its fight, but “it needed proper direction”.