The Congress Party has announced plans to hold a solidarity march following the sentencing of party leader Rahul Gandhi to two years imprisonment in a defamation case. Gandhi’s remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname made in 2019 led to his conviction by a Surat court.
However, the repercussions of the verdict extend beyond Gandhi’s personal fate. The Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, which he represented, was declared vacant after his disqualification from Parliament. The Lok Sabha secretariat issued a notification on Friday, confirming Gandhi’s removal as a member of the Lower House of Parliament following his conviction.
The disqualification means that three seats in the Lok Sabha are now vacant: Jalandhar, Lakshadweep, and Wayanad. The Jalandhar seat became vacant after the passing of Congress member Santokh Singh Chaudhary, while the Lakshadweep seat was vacated after the disqualification of NCP member Mohammad Faizal P P due to his conviction in an attempted murder case.
Gandhi has been an active member of Parliament for nearly two decades, representing the Amethi parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2019, before switching to Wayanad in the 2019 elections. His defeat in Amethi to BJP leader Smriti Irani was a major upset for the Congress Party, making his current predicament all the more difficult for the party.