New Delhi: Why no eminent lawyer of the Congress came to the aid of Rahul Gandhi when he was convicted in a defamation case leading to his disqualification from Parliament, Union Minister Anurag Thakur asked on Tuesday and wondered if it was deliberate and part of a conspiracy within the party.
Thakur, addressing the 'Times Network India Digital Fest', also described Gandhi as a "loose cannon" and a "serial offender" who has seven cases of defamation in various courts even after being cautioned by the apex court.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister made it clear that neither the government nor the Lok Sabha secretariat had any role to play in the former Congress president's disqualification from the Lok Sabha.
Thakur said that according to the Representation of the People Act, Rahul Gandhi stood disqualified the moment he was sentenced to a two-year jail term in a criminal defamation case.
The senior BJP leader wondered why none of the eminent lawyers sent by the Congress to the Rajya Sabha could be of any help in the defamation case against Gandhi.
"Was it deliberate? Is there a conspiracy within the Congress? It is surprising that an entire battery of lawyers came to the rescue of Pawan Khera within an hour. Why did the Congress leader not move court in support of Rahul Gandhi? This is a big question," Thakur said.
"Who are these persons who hatched the conspiracy against Rahul Gandhi," the Union minister asked.
Thakur said that even after issuing a written apology to the Supreme Court, Gandhi continued to make defamatory remarks against communities, people and organisations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
He also slammed Gandhi for speaking harshly to a journalist during a press conference on Saturday.
"Some people do not know that the person who was spoken harshly to had covered the Congress party for 15 years. He lashed out at the journalist and still he talks of freedom of the press," the Union minister said.
Thakur dismissed suggestions that the BJP was over-obsessed with Gandhi and said it was the Congress that has been unable to come out of the influence of the Gandhi family.
He also accused the Congress of derailing the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament after it realised that the BJP would insist on an apology from Gandhi for his remarks "maligning India" on foreign soil.
The minister also rejected the opposition charge that the BJP government was on the defensive on the Adani issue and said that SBI, LIC, RBI, SEBI had come out with statements on the matter.
He said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too had made a statement on the issue and an investigation by a Supreme Court-appointed committee was underway.
"There is nothing to hide. Our institutions are strong. We have to trust them. Had this not been the case, everything would be haywire," he said.
Thakur slammed the Congress party and claimed that it was obsessed with Gandhi family and prioritised them over the nation.
"Since 2013, 12 lawmakers have lost their Parliament membership due to their involvement in a criminal offence. But, Congress prioritises only a family over the country's judiciary and people and Parliament proceedings," the senior BJP leader said.