As the Parliament disqualified Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the membership of the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai hit out at the leader and his party, terming it "anti-backward".
Rai's remarks came a few hours after the Parliament disqualified Gandhi from membership of the Lok Sabha, a day after he was sentenced to two years in prison in a defamation case.
"Opposition to the backward classes has already been in the nature and culture of the Congress. Rahul-ji flouted the law by abusing Modi's surname. He is not even accepting the decision taken by the Surat court," Rai told ANI.
The minister also targeted the Congress party, saying "It is in the culture and nature of the Congress that what they (its leaders) say should be the law, and what they say should be everything. But, there is the rule of law."
The minister said, "Every class, section, region and society of this country has been uplifted under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and especially the poor have considered him as their 'Meseeha' in their kind and hurt".
"Whenever the Congress and the Opposition have spoken abusive words against Modi-ji, the poor have taken it as an insult of themselves, and the poor have been very distressed and sad on such remarks," said Rai, adding "today, the poor are happy that the court has taken a good decision and convicted Rahul Gandhi for abusing PM Modi."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Thursday convicted and sentenced to two years in jail by a Surat court in a 2019 defamation case. The conviction came over his remark using the "Modi" surname.
Chief Judicial Magistrate HH Verma convicted Gandhi in connection with a 2019 speech in which he said, "Why do all thieves have the name Modi?", and sentenced him to two years in prison.
He made the remark during a rally in Kolar, Karnataka, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. "Why do all thieves, be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi or Narendra Modi, have Modi as their surname?" Gandhi had said in Hindi.
Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) prescribes for defamation a simple imprisonment for a "term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or both."
The court also approved Gandhi's bail on a surety of Rs 15,000 and suspended the sentence for 30 days, allowing him to challenge his conviction in a higher court. (ANI)