Nearly fifty years later, Rahul follows in grandma Indira's footsteps with disqualification

Nearly five decades ago, Rahul Gandhi's grandmother and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also lost her MP status, following a ruling of the Allahabad High Court

Published: 25th March 2023 10:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2023 12:16 AM   |  A+A-

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi leaves the Parliament House complex in New Delhi on Friday, March 24 (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

The disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha is not the first involving a member of his family. Nearly five decades ago, his grandmother and then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also lost her MP status, following a ruling of the Allahabad High Court, which found her guilty of electoral malpractices in the 1971 general elections.

The momentous High Court verdict came on June 12, 1975, following a petition filed by Raj Narain, whom she had defeated in Rae Bareli, accusing her of using corrupt practices to win the election. In a first for a sitting Indian PM, Indira Gandhi was herself cross-examined in the High Court.

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Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha ruled that the PM was guilty of misusing government machinery for her election campaign. The HC not only set aside her election to the Lok Sabha but also disqualified her from contesting elections for the next six years.

When Indira Gandhi challenged the decision in the Supreme Court, Justice VR Krishna Iyer upheld the judgement on June 24. What happened next is well known. The Opposition led by Jayaprakash Narayan called for protests and held a massive rally in Delhi. This unnerved the PM who coaxed President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to declare a state of emergency on June 25.

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Indira Gandhi finally called for general elections in 1977 after extending the state of emergency twice. She stood from Rae Bareli again but this time lost by over 50,000 votes to the same Raj Narain who subsequently became Minister for Health and Family Welfare in the Morarji Desai government.

Coming back to the present, two days after his conviction in a defamation case, Rahul Gandhi is yet to file an appeal in a higher court. It remains to be seen whether, unlike his grandmother, he will get his disqualification quashed when the appeal is made.


India Matters


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