A day after his disqualification from Lok Sabha, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and business tycoon Gautam Adani, saying that attempts are being made to distract the country from the scams that he is trying to expose.
Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha on Thursday over his conviction in 2019 defamation case.
Addressing the media at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Delhi, Gandhi said that he will "not stop talking about the relationship between PM Modi and Adani."
Here are some of the key highlights from Gandhi's media address.
Attacking PM Modi, Gandhi said: "Democracy is over in India. People cannot express what they want and the reason behind that is the relationship of Modi and Adani. I am not raising questions on PM Modi, I am raising questions on Gautam Adani. Why is the BJP not questioning Adani?"
"My job is to defend the democratic nature of the country, which means defending the institutions of the country, defending the voice of the poor people of the country and telling people the truth about people like Adani who are exploiting the relationship they have with the PM," Gandhi added.
He further added that "PM Modi is in panic mode. To distract from Adani's Rs 20,000 crore scam, they disqualified me. The people of India know that Adani is a corrupt man. So the question is, why is PM Modi shielding him?"
"I have said many times before that democracy is being attacked in India. We are seeing examples of the same everyday. I asked questions in the Parliament regarding the relationship between PM Modi and Adani. My speech was expunged, and later I wrote a detailed note to the Lok Sabha Speaker. Some ministers lied about me that I sought help from foreign powers. But I have done no such thing," he added.
"This is the whole drama that is been orchestrated to defend the Prime Minister from the simple question- Who's Rs 20,000 crore went into Adani's shell companies? I am not scared of these threats, disqualifications or prison sentences," he added.
"My name is not Savrkar, my name is Gandhi. A Gandhi does not apologise for what's right," he said.
On his conviction by a Surat court, Gandhi said that the matter is "subjudice in court and it would not be right to comment on it."
'Gandhi Made False Claims': BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad
Reacting to Gandhi's press conference, BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "In his press conference, Rahul Gandhi tried to make false statements and did not speak on the subject. Rahul Gandhi has been punished for his speech in 2019. Today he said that 'I speak thoughtfully' which means whatever Rahul Gandhi said in 2019, it was spoken thoughtfully."
"You have the right to criticise. You don't have the right to abuse and insult. He (Rahul Gandhi) abused and insulted (a backward community) in a public meeting. The court gave him a chance to apologise. He said he won't apologise," Prasad added.
Prasad also said that Gandhi is not the only leader who has been disqualified.
"He is not the only one, 32 leaders have been disqualified across the country, including six from the BJP. The Congress is trying to project Rahul Gandhi as a victim for electoral gains in Karnataka," he said.