The Indian Overseas Congress protested the Centre’s decision to strip Rahul Gandhi of his right to serve as an MP. The protest took place in London near the Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, calling it “undemocratic,” “unconstitutional,” and “unparliamentary.”
According to the chief of the Indian Overseas Congress, Kamal Dhaliwal, “Disqualifying Rahul Gandhi is an attempt to instil fear in people to show that anything can happen if you go against the government, or the BJP.
“His sentencing in the 2019 defamation case over the Modi surname remark was maximized so that he could be disqualified. This is an act to distract the nation from the Adani issue,” the chief added.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat removed Gandhi from office as the representative for Wayanad in Kerala on Friday, one day after the Surat court found him guilty of criminal defamation for saying, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?” in 2019.
According to IOC Secretary Asra Anjum, “We from the Indian diaspora and the Congress feel this is undemocratic, unconstitutional, and unparliamentary. Freedom of speech is being curbed in India. India is a democracy and Rahul Gandhi should be allowed to put his point in the parliament.”
Around 60 people from the Indian diaspora attended the rally, where they expressed their discontent with Rahul Gandhi’s treatment. Flowers were placed at Mahatma Gandhi’s feet, symbolising the gentle but powerful movement he led and the family’s connection to it.
The IOC stated that this was only the beginning and that if action against Rahul Gandhi escalated in India, further such protests will be organised on a larger scale.
On Sunday, the group of supporters carrying placards reading “Daro Mat”, “Modi-Adani Bhai-Bhai”, and “Indian Democracy in Danger” as well as the tricolour assembled in London near the Houses of Parliament, coordinating with widespread Opposition protests in India.
“The IOC leaders reminded Rahul Gandhi’s stand to defend India’s hard-fought democracy,” remarked the IOC UK in a statement.
The statement further added, “IOC President Kamal Dhaliwal praised Rahul Gandhi and called for everyone to remember that his fight to protect India’s democracy was a fight to protect the freedoms of all Indians. A fight that was led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi and continues today.”
As IOC UK Senior Vice-President Gurminder Randhawa and spokeswoman Sudhakar Goud reaffirmed the “Daro Mat” message, youth wing leader Imam warned that the BJP government is “undermining Indian institutions and democratic system.”
IOC leader Suju stated that Rahulji’s expulsion as an MP is distressing not just for Congress supporters but also for the people of India, the world’s largest democracy.
Back in the first week of March 2023, Rahul Gandhi, the head of the Congress, launched a new attack on the BJP, claiming that the group adheres to “an ideology of hatred and violence,” with “cowardice” at its core.
Rahul Gandhi made the comments on Sunday during a meeting with the Indian diaspora organised by the UK chapter of the Indian Overseas Congress (IOC), alluding to remarks made about China by the Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar.
The 52-year-old former Congress president claimed that the BJP has “an ideology of hatred and violence, a disrespectful ideology that attacks people because of their ideas. And you must have noticed one thing that is in the nature of BJP and the RSS.”
Gandhi’s earlier statements at Cambridge University that the Indian democracy is under attack and that several politicians, including himself, are being watched, also sparked a political brawl, with the BJP accusing him of disparaging India and asking if Gandhi was acting as an agent on the payroll of an organisation to bring down the country.