MUMBAI, Aug 7 (PTI): Senior Maharashtra Congress leaders Vijay Wadettiwar and Ashok Chavan on Monday hailed the reinstatement of Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership as the victory of democracy and said this has strengthened the opposition bloc INDIA.
Shiv Sena (UBT) Lok Sabha member Arvind Sawant also welcomed Gandhi’s return to the Lower House of Parliament.
The Lok Sabha membership of Gandhi was restored on Monday, days after the Supreme Court stayed his conviction by a Gujarat court in a defamation case.
Gandhi was accorded a warm welcome by the Congress and other opposition MPs on his arrival in Parliament.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat issued a notification announcing that his disqualification has been revoked and his membership restored.
“The Union government was worried that Rahul Gandhi would expose its bad practices. Gandhi will continue to raise his voice in the Lok Sabha in the interest of the common man,” Wadettiwar, who is the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, told reporters.
He said Gandhi raised issues pertaining to the Rafale jets (deal) and Adani group in the Lok Sabha.
Gandhi always criticised “wrong decisions” of the Union government. He will continue to do so, he said.
“His return to the Lok Sabha has strengthened the opposition bloc INDIA,” Wadettiwar said.
Ashok Chavan in a tweet said the entire country was waiting for this decision and termed it as the “victory of justice and democracy”.
“This is not only a happy moment for Congress workers, but also for those who are supporters of democracy in this country,” the former state chief minister said.
Rahul Gandhi fought for the nation’s issues by coming out on road. Now his right to raise these issues in the Lok Sabha is restored, Chavan tweeted.
Talking to reporters, Sena (UBT) leader Arvind Sawant said, “The country’s freedom is in danger. We welcome Gandhi’s return to the Lok Sabha. The Supreme Court’s decision is a tight slap on the face against the conspiracy of the government.”
“The Gujarat High Court should be asked what happened to those behind the collapse of the bridge in (Morbi) in Gujarat (last year), before the state elections. Many people died, but we still do not know who was convicted in that case,” he said.
Gandhi was disqualified as a Lok Sabha member on March 24, with effect from March 23 after a Gujarat court convicted him in a defamation case and sentenced him to two years in jail.
A punishment for two years and above automatically disqualifies a lawmaker.
The Supreme Court last Friday stayed Gandhi’s conviction, paving the way for restoration of his Lok Sabha membership.
Gandhi represents Wayanad (in Kerala) in the Lower House.