The Mumbai Press Club slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for “humiliating” a journalist during his press conference on Saturday, March 25 after being disqualified as a member of the parliament.
"When asked a few uncomfortable questions on his disqualification as a member of parliament, Rahul Gandhi lost his cool and lashed out at the reporter, calling him a 'BJP worker'," the press club said in a statement.
The Mumbai Press Club deplores Congress leader Shri Rahul Gandhi for humiliating a journalist while addressing a press conference at his party office on Saturday morning.@RahulGandhi pic.twitter.com/pOBkfmZQoK— Mumbai Press Club (@mumbaipressclub) March 25, 2023
During the press conference, a journalist asked Rahul Gandhi about the BJP's claim that his remark against the Modi surname was an insult to the OBC (other backward classes) community. In response, Rahul told him that “if [he] wants to work with the BJP, he should wear the BJP symbol on his chest.”
"Why are you directly working for BJP? If you want to work for BJP, then wear a BJP badge. Don’t pretend to be a pressman… Kyun hawa nikal gayi (have I let out all your air),” he reportedly said.
#WATCH | "Don’t pretend to be a pressman...Kyun hawa nikal gayi?", says Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to a journalist questioning him on his conviction in 'Modi surname' case pic.twitter.com/SdaaUeraoy— ANI (@ANI) March 25, 2023
The press club in its statement said that it is a matter of concern that “political parties of all hues have been attempting to browbeat journalists using derogatory language and threats as a response to news reporting they find unpalatable.”
"The job of a journalist is to ask questions, and it is the duty of political leaders who call press conferences and engage with journalists to answer these questions with dignity and decorum," the press club said.
It futher appealed to all political actors to "uphold the freedom of the press to report and provide critical comment." They concluded by calling on Rahul to apologise to the journalist concerned, saying that "in this context, it will be appropriate for Mr Rahul Gandhi to make amends and offer an apology."
Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha on Friday, a day after a court in Gujarat's Surat convicted him in a 2019 defamation case. The disqualification from Lok Sabha will bar Gandhi (52), a four-time MP, from contesting polls for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction.