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Rahul Gandhi a habitual offender, Congress' reactions show its "scant respect" for country's institutions: Pralhad Joshi
New Delhi: Lashing out at Congress over the Surat court's verdict on Rahul Gandhi, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Thursday alleged that the remarks of its leaders show they have "scant respect" for the institutions of the country.
The Minister accused the Congress of "raising fingers" at the judiciary while also attempting to "demean" its pride. He also described Gandhi as a "habitual offender". This comes after Congress leaders backed Rahul Gandhi after Surat court sentenced him to two-year imprisonment for 'Modi surname' remark. The court, however, later stayed the sentence and allowed him 30 days time to approach the higher courts.
"The reactions of Congress and its leaders make it clear that they have scant respect for the institutions and they are repeatedly showing it. If the judgment had been on anybody else, they would have welcomed and celebrated it but they have started raising fingers at the judiciary after today's verdict. They are demeaning the pride of the judiciary. They are protesting against the verdict of the judiciary outside the court," Joshi said while addressing the media.
"During the course of the inquiry, the court repeatedly told (him) to apologise but he (Rahul Gandhi) clearly denied it. When the court has delivered the verdict, they do not have remorse. If we look at Rahul Gandhi's history, he is a habitual offender," he added.
Recalling the incident in which Rahul Gandhi, the then Vice President of Congress, tore the ordinance papers in 2013, Joshi said that he should stop showing "disrespect" against the constitutional institutions of the country, failing which he would be taught a lesson by the people of India.
"When there was Manmohan Singh's government, he had torn apart the ordinance on the same matter. The ordinance was called non-sense (by Rahul Gandhi). Showing disrespect against constitutional institutions has become his habit. We condemn it. He should stop doing it or the people would teach him a lesson," he said.
Earlier today, some Congress leaders, including party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, referred to a change of judge in the case.
"He (Rahul Gandhi) has been granted bail. We knew from the beginning because they kept changing judges. We believe in law, and judiciary and we will fight against this as per law," Kharge said.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the party has been saying that democracy is in danger as there is pressure on judiciary, Election Commission and Enforcement Directorate.
"We keep saying our democracy is in danger as there is pressure on judiciary, ECI, ED & they're all misused. All decisions are made under influence. Such comments are common... Rahul Gandhi is a courageous man and only he can compete with NDA government," he said.
Rahul Gandhi did not comment on the verdict and made a tweet in Hindi quoting Mahatma Gandhi.
"My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it- Mahatma Gandhi," he said.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said her Rahul Gandhi is not afraid and will keep speaking the truth.
"The entire scared machinery of power is trying to suppress the voice of Rahul Gandhi through 'saam, daam, dand, bhed'. My brother has never been afraid, nor will he ever be. He has lived speaking the truth, will continue to speak the truth," she said.
The judgment of the Surat court relates to Rahul Gandhi's alleged remarks "how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname" made in April, 2019, at a Lok Sabha election rally at Kolar in Karnataka. (ANI)