Rahul Gandhi has been sentenced to two years in jail for remarks he made about Narendra Modi by a court in the prime minister’s home state of Gujarat, raising the temperature of Indian politics a year ahead of a national election.
The court in Surat sentenced Gandhi, 52, the best-known figure in the Congress party that dominated Indian politics for decades, for comments he made in a 2019 speech in which he asked “why all thieves have the name Modi, Modi, Modi”.
The court granted Gandhi bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to give him time to appeal.
Modi’s dominant Bharatiya Janata party will face voters in April and May 2024 in which the prime minister will be seeking a third term in office.
Gandhi, who holds no formal position in the party but is its most well-known personality, has gone on the attack against Modi in recent weeks over his ties to Gautam Adani, the industrialist whose group is facing unprecedented scrutiny after a scathing attack by short seller Hindenburg Research.