MUMBAI: Rahul Gandhi on Monday made small talk with the man who dragged him to court for accusing the RSS of assassinating Mahatma. Waiting in a Bhiwandi, Maharashtra court room to face charges of defamation, the Congress vice-president killed time by engaging his accuser Rajesh Kunte in a conversation.
The court appearance was a tad poignant: today, January 30, was the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse in 1948.
The hearing itself was not as frantic as Rahul Gandhi’s previous appearance in the case, back in November. Then the Congress veep was granted bail within minutes. On Monday, he had to wait wait for half an hour for the hearing to commence as the judge was delivering his judgement on another case.
Petitioner Rajesh Kunte told New Indian Express later that Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan introduced him to Rahul Gandhi. “He asked me several questions about the RSS. He was also interested in knowing my personal background. He wanted to know whether I belonged to the BJP. I said I belong to the RSS,” Rajesh Kunte added.
The court was to record Rahul Gandhi’s plea today. However, his counsel came up with a neat legal dodge. He argued that his client had not received copies of the complete newspapers in which news of Rahul Gandhi’s contentious speech was reported. Therefore he needed more time to record the plea.
Kunte’s counsel Nandu Phadke was dismayed. The defence had never earlier pointed out this (the absence of the entire newspaper), not even when they filed a challenged to the proceedings in the High court and Supreme Court.
But Rahul Gandhi got what he wanted. The judge adjourned the hearing to March 3.
Leaving the court, Rahul Gandhi milked the Mahatma Gandhi anniversary. “I remember Gandhiji today,” he said. “My fight is against an ideology. It’s a fight against those who killed Gandhi, against those who have removed Gandhiji from Khadi and Gramodyog calendars. Gandhiji will continue to stay in the heart of India forever. They have killed him but they cannot erase him.”