Goa Opposition members boycott LS Speaker Om Birla’s address in state Assembly

Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao said the entire opposition decided to disassociate itself from the event as a mark of protest.

Panaji: Opposition parties in Goa on Thursday boycotted Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s address in the state Legislative Assembly with the Congress questioning why he was not giving a chance to party leader Rahul Gandhi to represent himself over his disqualification in a defamation case.

Birla addressed members of Goa Assembly on the topic “Vikasit Bharat 2047” this morning. Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and other members of the ruling parties were present for the function.

However, opposition members – those from the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP) – skipped the function.

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Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao said the entire opposition decided to disassociate itself from the event as a mark of protest.

Talking to reporters at the entrance of the Assembly complex, Alemao said that they protested against Birla for not giving Congress leader Rahul Gandhi a chance to represent himself in the Lok Sabha in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark.

“The Lok Sabha Speaker has failed to give a hearing to our leader Rahul Gandhi. So as a mark of respect to our leader, we decided to stay away from today’s Assembly function,” he said.

In March this year, a court in Gujarat’s Surat convicted Gandhi in a criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark and sentenced him to two years in jail. The decision led to his disqualification as a Member of Parliament. He represented the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala.

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