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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that he was not Veer Savarkar and that he will not apologise.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital a day after he was convicted in a defamation case and subsequently disqualified from Lok Sabha, Gandhi said "My name in not Savarkar, my name is Gandhi. Gandhis don't apologise to anyone." He further stated that he is not scared of going to prison and that his disqualification from Parliament was aimed at distracting people from the Adani issue.
He alleged that BJP-led central government is allegedly protecting businessman Gautam Adani, who has been accused of stock manipulation
"Moot question remains who invested Rs 20,000 crore in Adani shell firms. I will keep asking the question," the former Wayanad MP said.
"Why is the BJP-led centre is allegedly protecting the businessman Gautam Adani? Kyuki aap hi Adani ho," he alleged.
Gandhi added, "Whole game of disqualification, allegations by ministers is aimed at distracting people from Adani issue."
He also alleged that he Prime Minister was scared of the "next speech that is going to come on Adani". "I have seen it in his eyes. That is why, first the distraction and then the disqualification," Rahul Gandhi said.
On being asked about the BJP's allegations of insulting the OBC community he said, "I have always talked about brotherhood, this is not about OBCs."
Hitting out at the BJP-led central government, Gandhi said, "For this government, the country is Adani and Adani is country."
Reacting to his disqualification from the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi said that even if he is permanently disqualified, he will keep doing his job.
Expressing his gratitude to the opposition parties for extending support to him and said, "all of us will work together."
He added, "I am here to defend the democratic voice of the people of India. Will continue to do that, I am not scared of anyone."
"My job is to defend the democratic nature of the country which means defending the institutions of the country, defending the voice of the poor people of the country and telling people the truth about people like Adani who are exploiting the relationship they have with the PM, " Gandhi said.
Rahul Gandhi also said that he had asked the Speaker to let him respond on the floor of the House to the allegations over his London remarks and the charge that he had sought the intervention of international forces in the domestic affairs of the country.
"BJP leaders claimed that I am helping anti-India forces. I told the Speaker that it is my right to respond to these allegations. But he didn't allow me," he said. "I have only one step and that's to fight for truth and to defend democratic nature of this country. Disqualify me for life, jail me for life, I will continue going."
The BJP meanwhile, doubled down on Gandhi with former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stating that the Congress leader was facing the heat for his speech in 2019. "Today he said that 'I speak thoughtfully' which means whatever Rahul Gandhi said in 2019, it was spoken thoughtfully," Prasad said in a press conference in Patna.
The former union minister said that the Congress was attempting to project Rahul Gandhi as a victim for electoral gains in Karnataka. "He is not the only one, 32 leaders have been disqualified across the country, including six from the BJP," Prasad said.
Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the Congress leader was able to speak because there is democracy in this country. "He is the one speaking the most against Modi ji and still says that his voice is being strangled," Meghwal said.
On Friday, Gandhi was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha, a day after a Surat court sentenced him to two years imprisonment in a defamation case filed against him over his 'Modi surname' remark.
In April 2019, he made the remark "how come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname" at a Lok Sabha election rally at Kolar in Karnataka. The court approved Gandhi's bail on a surety and stayed the sentence for 30 days to allow him to approach the higher courts. (ANI)