On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi said he ‘did not envision’ his Lok Sabha disqualification when he entered politics. Gandhi, who is in the US for a three-city trip, said his disqualification as an MP has given him a “huge opportunity” to serve the people.

In 2019, a Gujarat court convicted the Wayanad (Kerala) MP of criminal defamation for his “Modi surname” statement and disqualified him.

Rahul Gandhi told Indian students at Stanford University that he never envisioned this when he entered politics in 2000. The former Congress chairman said what he sees now is far from what he expected when he entered politics.

“That’s politics,”: Rahul Gandhi

The four-time MP was sentenced to two years in prison for criminal defamation by a Surat court on March 23. His Lok Sabha membership was revoked after the two-year sentence. Gandhi received bail to appeal to a higher court.

Unless a higher court overturns his sentence, he would be disqualified from the Lok Sabha for eight years.

He told Indian students and academics at Stanford University that he does not need sponsorship for his frequent international excursions.

Gandhi questioned the audience, “I don’t understand why the prime minister (Narendra Modi) doesn’t come here and do it,” to which the moderator replied that the PM is welcome to visit Stanford and mingle with students and academics.

The former Congress president also spoke about his “Bharat Jodo Yatra,” which began from Kanyakumari on September 7 last year and passed through 12 states before ending in Jammu and Kashmir in January. He said he started it because India’s opposition is “struggling” to fight the “democratic fight.”

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India-China ties would be ‘difficult’

Rahul Gandhi also stated that China cannot bully India and that ties between the two countries will be “tough.”

“How do you see the India-China relationship evolving in the next 5-10 years?” “It’s tough right now,” Gandhi said. They’ve taken some of our land. It’s hard. Relationships are hard.”

India is unmovable. “Nothing will happen,” he added.

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India and China have been in a three-year border dispute in eastern Ladakh. In June 2020, the fatal Galwan Valley battle in eastern Ladakh strained ties.

Would share Modi’s Russia-Ukraine war attitude.

Rahul Gandhi also praised the Narendra Modi-led government’s ‘neutral posture’ on the Russia-Ukraine war, saying that India ‘needs to look for its own interest’.

We rely on Russia. “So, I would have a similar stance as the Government of India,” Rahul Gandhi responded when asked if he supports India’s neutrality on Russia.

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He said India is big enough to develop partnerships with other nations. He claimed it’s not so dependant that it would just have one relationship.

“These relationships will always exist. Some relationships will improve, others will evolve. “There’s balance,” Rahul added.

India has always supported the UN Charter, international law, and state sovereignty and territorial integrity, abstaining from Ukraine-related UN resolutions.

India has also stressed that the whole Global South has suffered’substantial collateral damage’ and that poor nations are bearing the brunt of the conflict’s effects on food, petroleum, and fertilizer supplies.

He also stressed the importance of manufacturing and India-US collaboration in data and artificial intelligence.

Gandhi stated this bilateral partnership must go beyond security and defense.