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India court rejects Rahul Gandhi’s plea for stay on conviction | Politics News

Rahul Gandhi, a leader of India’s opposition Congress party, has had his petition for stay of conviction in a defamation case rejected by a court in Gujarat. The case was brought by a legislator from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after comments made by Gandhi in a 2019 speech were deemed insulting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others surnamed Modi. Gandhi had referred to two fugitive businessmen with the Modi surname, asking: “How come all thieves have the name Modi?” He was sentenced to two years in prison, but his jail term remains suspended while he pursues legal challenges. Gandhi, who lost his parliament seat in March due to the conviction, could be disqualified from the 2024 elections or any other election until the conviction is overturned, since Indian election laws require the disqualification of politicians convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for at least two years. Congress leaders and lawyers say they will challenge the Surat court’s decision in the Gujarat High Court. Analysts see the defamation case as part of the BJP’s strategy to eliminate political threats from the Congress and malign the reputation of a family that has been powerful in Indian politics since independence in 1947.

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