Mumbai: Hearing the defamation case against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for alleging that the RSS-BJP ideology was behind the murder of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh, a Mumbai court on Thursday released the leader on a surety of Rs 15,000. Former MP Eknath Gaikwad gave the surety for Rahul.
The leader had pleaded not guilty. Rahul chose to appear before the court just a day after tendering his resignation from the post of Congress President.
After appearing in court, Rahul said, “I didn’t say anything in court, I had to appear. It’s a fight of ideology, I’m standing with the poor & farmers. Aakraman ho raha hai, mazaa aa raha hai’. I’ll fight 10 times harder than I did in the last five years.”
Hundreds of his followers were lined up on either side of the road leading up to the court. Rahul was accompanied by Mallikarjun Kharge and Milind Deora. The Congress leader was summoned, besides CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, by a metropolitan magistrate’s court in February on a complaint filed by Dhrutiman Joshi, a lawyer and worker of the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.
Observers are linking Rahul’s decision to appear in court to something he pointed out in his open letter a day ago. He had written, “I personally fought the Prime Minister, the RSS and the institutions they have captured with all my being. I fought because I love India… At times, I stood completely alone and am extremely proud of it.”
“We will not defeat our opponents without sacrificing the desire for power and fighting a deeper ideological battle,” he had said.