Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday pleaded not guilty in a defamation case against him and stated that his political opponents are 'desperate' to silence him.
Gandhi also thanked his party workers and supporters for expressing solidarity with him during his appearance at a Surat magisterial court.
"I am in Surat today to appear in a defamation case filed against me by my political opponents, desperate to silence me. I am grateful for the love and support of the Congress workers who have gathered here to express their solidarity with me," Gandhi tweeted.
The defamation case was filed against Gandhi over his "why all thieves share the Modi surname" remark.
After today's hearing, the court has fixed the matter for hearing on December 10, 2019.
The Gandhi scion had made the remarks during campaigning for Lok Sabha elections earlier this year. His party colleague Shaktisinh Gohil defended Gandhi and said that the party in power should tolerate criticism by the opposition.
"In a democracy, the party in power should tolerate criticism by the opposition. Rahul ji had said Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi are thieves and Narendra Modi is a failure. BJP connected his statement to the Modi community and insulted them," said Shaktisinh Gohil, a Congress leader.
Senior party leader Ahmed Patel also backed Gandhi and said, "Let the law takes its own course.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)