Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will return to the Kolar region of Karnataka for the first time since being convicted for two years in a defamation case by a Surat court over an election speech in Kolar in 2019 where he was accused of equating Prime Minister Narendra Modi with economic offenders.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Congress working president Saleem Ahmed said the rally will have the theme of ‘Satyameva Jayathe’ and will be used as a forum to protest the manner in which Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha following conviction by a Gujarat court in a defamation case.
Former Congress MP from Kolar K H Muniyappa in a press conference on Tuesday said Rahul Gandhi and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge have decided to hold a rally in Kolar on April 5 as a part of the Congress campaign for the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections.
“The venue of the event is not finalised yet. We are looking at a couple of places for the event and more than one lakh people are expected to take part. The BJP is creating a situation where the survival of democracy is being questioned. We have to put an end to this,” Muniyappa said.
The senior Congress leader said people would be gathered from the regions of rural Bengaluru, Chikaballapura and Tumkuru for the April 5 rally.
“In 2019, Rahul Gandhi had campaigned on my behalf and some persons have accused him of defaming Modi in his speech. A specific two-year jail term has been awarded with the intent of disqualification since a lesser term cannot lead to disqualification. He will have his first public rally in Kolar since being disqualified. Since the issue had cropped up from Kolar, he has decided to start the campaign from Kolar,” said Muniyappa.
The Kolar was recently in news after former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah showed his willingness to contest from the Kolar Assembly seat and his subsequent U-turn on the advice of the central leadership of Congress in view of the risks involved in the region due to the lack of a strong party base.