He may have been blindsided by the latest move from the saffron camp, but the Congress scion could turn it to his advantage to unite the Opposition and build a strong, sustained narrative
Rahul Gandhi addresses the media at the Congress HQ, Mar. 25; (Photo: Chandradeep Kumar)
Little could Congress leader Rahul Gandhi have known that the ordinance he tore up so dramatically in September 2013 would come back to bite him 10 years down the line. That ordinance, passed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, had sought to help lawmakers convicted for criminal offences and sentenced to at least two years in prison avoid immediate disqualification from Parliament or state assemblies. At a press conference, Rahul had overturned his own government’s legislation in public, calling it “nonsense”. Two years later, he moved the Supreme Court seeking a decriminalisation of the act of defamation. He had reason to worry. Till 2014, he had no criminal cases against him, but his election affidavit in 2019 showed six criminal cases against him, mostly related to defamation. His plea was rejected.