Congress leader Rahul Gandhi vacated his official bungalow in Lutyens’ Delhi on Saturday and shifted to his mother Sonia Gandhi’s residence, weeks after losing his Lok Sabha membership following his conviction in a defamation case.
The Congress said the government may “evict” Gandhi from a house but he occupies a place in the hearts and homes of crores of Indians.
Earlier, on 24 March the Lok Sabha secretariat disqualified Rahul Gandhi from Lok Sabha after his conviction by a Surat court in a defamation case filed against his ‘Modi-surname remark.’ However, the two-year sentence in the case was suspended by the court as it allowed the leader to file a plea against the verdict.
Rahul Gandhi was asked to vacate the property by 22 April and he relocated his office and a personal items from the bungalow to his mother Sonia Gandhi’s official residence.
A disqualified MP is not entitled to a government accommodation and gets a one-month period to vacate his official residence.
Exiting his official residence for the last time, Rahul Gandhi said he was being “punished” for speaking the truth. He said he doesn’t want to live in the house any more as it was given to him by the people of India but has now been “snatched away”.
“People of India gave me this house for 19 years, I want to thank them. It’s the price for speaking the truth. I am ready to pay any price for speaking the truth…,” he said, adding that he would live at 10 Janpath, his mother Sonia Gandhi’s residence, until he makes other arrangements.
The Gujarat court had given him 30 days to file an appeal, which he did, and lost on Friday. This meant Mr Gandhi cannot be reinstated as MP for now.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called the appellate court’s decision upholding the lower court’s conviction a “slap in the face of the Gandhi family”, and said that the court proved that the law is equal for all and “there cannot be preferential treatment for any family”.
The former Wayanad MP will now have to appeal in Gujarat HC or the Supreme Court against the Surat court’s order to retain his Lok Sabha membership.