Congress leader Rahul Gandhi received a new ordinary passport on Sunday, marking a significant development in his travel plans. The issuance of the passport came two days after a local court granted its no objection, sources confirmed. The passport office had assured Gandhi earlier in the day that the passport would be issued, and he received it in the afternoon.
Gandhi, the former Congress president, is preparing for a three-city tour in the United States, commencing with San Francisco on Monday evening. After surrendering his old diplomatic passport, which was issued during his tenure as a member of parliament, Gandhi had applied for an ordinary passport. His travel to San Francisco will include interactions with students at Stanford University, addressing a press conference, and holding meetings with lawmakers and think tanks in Washington DC.
During his week-long tour, Gandhi is expected to engage with Indian Americans, lawmakers, think tank members, Wall Street executives, and university students. The tour will culminate in a large public gathering in New York on June 4, with the event taking place at the Javits Center.
A Delhi court granted Rahul Gandhi a three-year 'ordinary passport' instead of the typical 10-year period, following an objection raised by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. The court took into account the pending National Herald case, which is currently at the stage of cross-examination of the complainant in pre-charge evidence. Gandhi has been consistently appearing before the court, either in person or through his counsel, without causing any delays or hindrances in the proceedings. Swamy serves as the complainant in the case where Gandhi is an accused.
Ordinary passports are typically valid for 10 years and are issued to adults. However, considering Gandhi's circumstances, the court approved the issuance of a three-year passport. Previously, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament after being convicted and sentenced to a two-year jail term in a defamation case related to his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surname. The sentence has been suspended in the defamation case, allowing Gandhi to seek the necessary documentation for his travel plans.