Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said that he did not imagine his disqualification from Lok Sabha was possible when he joined politics but asserted that it has given him a "huge opportunity" to serve the people.
Gandhi, who is in the US for a three-city US tour, made the remarks on Wednesday night in response to a series of questions from Indian students at the prestigious Stanford University Campus in California.
The Wayanad (Kerala) Member of Parliament was disqualified from Lok Sabha earlier this year after he was convicted by a Surat court in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his "Modi surname" remark.
In his remarks, Gandhi said that when he joined politics in 2000, he never imagined this is what he would go through. What he sees is going on now is way outside anything that he had thought when he joined politics.
Referring to his disqualification from Lok Sabha as a Member of Parliament, Gandhi, 52, said he didn't imagine that something like this was possible.
"But then I think it's actually given me a huge opportunity. Probably much bigger than the opportunity I would have. That's just the way politics works,” he said.
"I think the drama started really, about six months ago. We were struggling. The entire opposition is struggling in India. Huge financial dominance. Institutional capture. We're struggling to fight the democratic fight in our country,” he said, adding that at this point in time, he decided to go for the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.
"I am very clear, our fight is ours fight,” he said. “But there is a group of young students from India here. I want to have a relationship with them and want to talk to them. It’s my right to do it,” he said during his interaction with Indian students and academicians of Indian origin at the University here.
He also emphasised in his frequent foreign trips like this, he is not seeking support from anybody.
"I don't understand why the prime minister doesn't come here and do it,” Gandhi asked amidst applause from the audience who had packed the entire auditorium at Stanford.
The moderator said that the Prime Minister is welcome to come to Stanford anytime and interact with the students and academicians.
Some of the students were denied entry as the auditorium was packed. Students started queuing up two hours before the event started.
In the last one and a half years, several Indian ministers have interacted with Indian students.