Maharasthra Maha Vijas Aghadi (MVA) MLAs on Saturday staged a silent protest outside State Assembly against the disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a member of Parliament.
The MLAs covering their mouths with black bands sat on the steps of the Assembly holding posters. Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) faction leader Aditya Thackeray and Congress' Jayant Patil were seen participating in the protest.
On Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament (MP) from the date of his conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark.
Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from Lok Sabha triggered a massive political row with the BJP stating that the Congress leader was "a habitual loose cannon" and the Congress alleging that he was "deliberately disqualified".
While Congress leaders including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and party chief Mallikarjun Kharge rallied behind Rahul Gandhi, opposition leaders including Mamata Banerjee, K Chandrashekar Rao, MK Stalin, Hemant Soren, Arvind Kejiwal, Sharad Yadav, Uddhav Thackeray and Akhilesh Yadav attacked the BJP-led government.
Leaders of Left parties, Janata Dal-Secular also attacked the government. Some of them called it a "black day" for Indian democracy.NCP leader Sharad Pawar said opposition leaders need to stand together to defend our democratic institutions.
"Our constitution guarantees the right of each individual to fair justice; liberty of thought; equality of status and opportunity and fraternity assuring the dignity of each Indian. The disqualifications of Mr Rahul Gandhi and Mr Faizal a few months ago as MPs of the Lok Sabha are against the basic tenets of the constitution, where democratic values are being curtailed.
This is condemnable and against the very principles on which the constitution is based. We all need to stand together to defend our democratic institutions," he said in a tweet.Uddhav Thackeray said it was a "murder of democracy".
"Rahul Gandhi's candidacy has been cancelled. Calling a thief, a thief has become a crime in our country. Thieves & looters are still free and Rahul Gandhi was punished. This is a direct murder of democracy. All govt systems are under pressure. This is the beginning of the end of the dictatorship. Only the fight has to be given direction," he said.
Rahul Gandhi's disqualification came after the Surat court on Thursday sentenced him to two years imprisonment in a defamation case over his 'Modi surname' remark made in 2019 during an election rally in Karnataka.
Rahul Gandhi made the "how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname" remark in April 2019, at a Lok Sabha election rally at Kolar in Karnataka.
The criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi was filed by BJP MLA from Surat West Purnesh Modi. (ANI)