In the midst of growing political turmoil over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's conviction with a two-year jail term in a criminal defamation case and his disqualification as an MP, the United Nations has reacted to the event as Rahul Gandhi's disqualification has attracted a global spotlight.
The United Nations on Thursday, following Rahul Gandhi's conviction, said that it is aware of the reports about him and the prison sentence awarded to him and that his party plans to appeal the verdict. Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, was responding to a question at a press briefing on whether Guterres was worried about democracy in India.
Farhan Haq said, "I can say that we're aware of the reports regarding the case of Rahul Gandhi. We understand that his party does plan to appeal the decision. That's as much as I can say on that at this stage." Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP on Friday, a day after a Surat court in Gujarat convicted him in a criminal defamation case and bestowed him a two-year prison sentence.
Following the disqualification, the seat of Wayanad parliamentary constiituency, from where Rahul Gandhi got elected in 2019, was declared vacant. Rahul Gandhi was found guilty in the case of defaming the 'Modi surname'. During an election campaign in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi said, "Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, and Narendra Modi...how come they all have common surnames? How come all the thieves have 'Modi' as surnames?".
As his remark gained traction, BJP MLA in Gujarat, Purnesh Modi lodged a complaint against Rahul Gandhi. Based on his plight, a criminal defamation case was filed against the Congress leader in Gujarat under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The Chief Judicial magistrate court in Surat was hearing the case and the verdict was pronounced on Thursday in which Judge HH Varma said that Rahul Gandhi was found guilty to the charges. As the maximum possible punishment under this section is two years, Rahul Gandhi was awarded two-year prison sentence and a fine of Rs 15,000.
Rahul Gandhi has been in a rain of support from several opposition leaders following his disqualification in the midst of a state where he can't be able to contest in the elections for the next eight years if a higher court didn't overturn or suspend the conviction pronounced by the Surat court. Being surfaced with national support and spotlight over his next move, Rahul Gandhi reacted for the first time about his disqualification. Taking to Twitter on Friday, he wrote in Hindi, "I am fighting for the voice of India. I am ready to pay every price."