Disqualification as Lok Sabha MP huge opportunity to serve people: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during an interaction with activists, academics and others at the University of California, in Santa Cruz on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

Stanford: Former Congress president and leader Rahul Gandhi said his disqualification as Lok Sabha MP provided him a 'huge opportunity' to serve the people.

He added he did not imagine his disqualification from Lok Sabha was possible when he joined politics.

Gandhi, who is in the US for a three-city 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 member of parliament from Wayanad 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.

Gandhi said that when he joined politics in 2000, he never imagined he would go through what happened to him of late. He said what has transpired now is way outside anything that he had thought was possible when he joined politics.

"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 really started about six months ago. We were struggling. The entire opposition is struggling in India facing huge financial dominance and 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. 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.

He emphasised that in his frequent foreign trips like the current one, he is not seeking support from anybody.

"I don't understand why the prime minister doesn't come here and do it," Gandhi wondered amidst applause from the audience who had packed the entire auditorium at Stanford.

The moderator said 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.

(With PTI inputs.)

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