Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena (UBT) party, on Friday dubbed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as “murder” of democracy and said this is the beginning of the end of ”dictatorship”. In a statement, Thackeray said it has become a crime to call a thief a thief, while those “looting” the country are out. “This is the murder of democracy. All agencies are under pressure. This is the beginning of the end of the dictatorship…the battle only needs a direction (now),” Thackeray said.
Earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said Gandhi has been disqualified from the Lok Sabha, a day after a Surat court convicted him in a 2019 criminal defamation case. Announcing his disqualification, the Lok Sabha Secretariat in a notification said that it was effective from March 23, the day of his conviction. “Consequent upon his conviction by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat…Rahul Gandhi, Member of Lok Sabha representing the Wayanad Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala stands disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction i.e. 23 March, 2023,” the notification read. The Surat court on Thursday sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in a defamation case, filed on a complaint by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi for his alleged remark, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” Following his disqualification, Rahul Gandhi would not be able to contest elections for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction and sentence.