After the disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a criminal defamation case, Trinamool Congress has decided to initiate similar legal proceedings against the leader of opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, to dislodge the latter from his chair as an Assembly member.
This was announced by Trinamool MP and the party's national General Secretary, Abhishek Banerjee, while addressing a mega rally of the party's youth and students' wing here on Wednesday.
"I do not support Rahul Gandhi referring to a particular surname. But the manner in which he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha was nothing but simple use of force, which is not acceptable. If Rahul Gandhi had hurt the sentiments of the OBC community by referring to the surname of Modi, for which he has sentenced to jail for two years besides being disqualified as a Lok Sabha member, why Suvendu Adhikari will not be disqualified from the Assembly for making derogatory remark against Birbaha Hansda," the Trinamool leader asked.
Banerjee was referring to a recent statement of Adhikari wherein he had referred to Hansda, a popular face in the West Bengal Cabinet hailing from the tribal community, saying that leaders like her remain under his shoes.
Banerjee also set a month's deadline for the legal cell of the party to initiate legal proceedings against Adhikari. He advised the party's legal cell to use the Surat court order against Rahul Gandhi as a precedence while initiating legal proceedings against the leader of opposition.
Banerjee also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speeches against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during his campaign rallies before the 2021 Assembly polls.
"The manner in which the Prime Minister addressed the Chief Minister was an insult to women in general. If Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha membership can be cancelled for referring to a particular surname in a public speech, why shouldn't the same rules be applicable for the Prime Minister for insulting a woman," Banerjee questioned.
Last week, a court in Surat had found Rahul Gandhi guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his remarks about Prime Minister Modi's surname. The Congress leader, however, was granted bail and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to allow him to appeal the Surat court verdict.
The case was filed against Rahul Gandhi by BJP MLA and ex-Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi for saying "how come all thieves have the common surname Modi" while campaigning in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
A day later, Rahul Gandhi was suspended from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in the criminal defamation case. The Lok Sabha Secretariat also declared his constituency in Kerala's Wayanad as vacant.
According to the Representation of the People Act, a lawmaker sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more shall be disqualified "from the date of such conviction" and remain disqualified for another six years after serving prison time.
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