An official from the State Department has confirmed that the United States is closely monitoring the court case of Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India’s Congress party. The official noted that Washington remains engaged with India on the shared commitment towards democratic principles and protecting human rights, including freedom of expression.
Gandhi was recently sentenced to two years in jail by a Surat court in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his “why all thieves have Modi surname” remark. Following his conviction, he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha.
Speaking at a news conference, the State Department’s Deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel emphasized the importance of respect for the rule of law and judicial independence in any democracy. He stated that the US is keeping a close eye on Gandhi’s case in Indian courts and continues to engage with the Indian government on the importance of democratic values and the protection of human rights.
When asked about the US’s engagement with opposition parties in other countries, Patel noted that it is normal for the United States to engage with members of opposition parties in countries with bilateral relationships.
Meanwhile, opposition parties in India have intensified their criticism of the Narendra Modi government. Many observe a “black day for democracy” in response to Gandhi’s disqualification from the Lok Sabha. The BJP, on the other hand, has condemned the actions of the opposition in parliament, accusing the Congress of resorting to “low-level politics” to defend Gandhi’s remarks against the OBC community.