Congress workers and supporters across the country held "maun satyagraha" near Mahatma Gandhi statues in every state capital as a mark of protest against Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from the Lok Sabha following the Gujarat High Court that refused to stay his conviction in a 2019 defamation case over his "Modi surname" remarks. The party will also approach the Supreme Court over the issue.
Announcing the protests, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said Gandhi has been the strongest and most vocal opponent of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. "We believe that the truth, and our commitment for the genuine welfare of every Indian, speaks loud and clear, no matter what tactics the BJP-RSS will deploy against us or our leaders. India will not allow such fascist forces to go on for too long," he said.
In Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar along with a host of other legislators tied a black ribbon on their mouth to symbolically convey that the freedom of speech was in danger. They held placards at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru with the photograph of Rahul Gandhi and a message that said, "roar of the truth must prevail".
Maun Satyagraha, standing up against the muting of democracy.— Congress (@INCIndia) July 12, 2023
Karnataka CM @siddaramaiah ji, Karnataka Deputy CM & KPCC President @DKShivakumar ji, AICC GS I/c Karnataka @rssurjewala ji & other leaders participated in the event at Freedom Park in Bengaluru. pic.twitter.com/0V7TEoElif
Similar protests were held in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. "The Modi government is continuously trying to suppress the voice of Rahul Gandhi with the power of power. This is an attack on democracy, which will not be tolerated," the party said in a statement.
मोदी सरकार सत्ता की ताकत से लगातार राहुल गांधी जी की आवाज को दबाने की कोशिश कर रही है। यह लोकतंत्र पर प्रहार है, जिसे बर्दाश्त नहीं किया जाएगा।— Congress (@INCIndia) July 12, 2023
मोदी सरकार की इस साजिश के खिलाफ @INCUttarPradesh के अध्यक्ष @KhabriINC जी के नेतृत्व में कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ताओं का मौन सत्याग्रह जारी… pic.twitter.com/V6fv43gxs3
West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury along with his party colleagues held a silent protest at the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Mayo Road-Dufferin Road crossing in the central part of the city. Chowdhury, who is the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, had earlier written to Speaker Om Birla to hold a debate on the disqualification of Gandhi.
In support of @RahulGandhi’s fearless & uncompromising fight & in solidarity with our leader,a #MaunSatyagrah is arranged at district HQ, #Bahrampur, #Murshidabad, WB where @INCWestBengal President @adhirrcinc has participated with other district leaders. @INCIndia@kharge@ANIpic.twitter.com/EOE0wUT3OZ— West Bengal Congress (@INCWestBengal) July 12, 2023
In Kerala, an array of senior leaders including MLAs, MPs and former ministers gathered in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Park, located in the heart of the capital city, to take part in the protest that would continue till the evening.
Before the beginning of the 'maun satyagraha', Kerala PCC chief K Sudhakaran alleged that the Centre under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP were trying to keep Gandhi away from Parliament. "The Modi government is trying to insult Rahul Gandhi and keep him away from the Parliament. But the Congress workers in the country will unitedly rally behind him to check all such moves," he said.
In solidarity with #RahulGandhi. Entire congress workers in Kerala are in silent protest against the BJP- RSS nexus attempt to gag the strongest pro- people voice in India.#INC#KPCCpic.twitter.com/CX335oLHUA— V D Satheesan (@vdsatheesan) July 12, 2023
Protests were also held in Srinagar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. A stay on Gandhi's conviction would have paved the way for his reinstatement as a Lok Sabha MP. The Congress alleged that the government is finding "newer techniques" to throttle his voice as it is rattled by him speaking the truth.