Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday pleaded “not guilty” in connection with a defamation case filed against him by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker.

Charges were framed against Rahul Gandhi under sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of Indian Penal Code. The next date of hearing in the Bhiwandi court is August 10.

Speaking to the media after appearing before the Bhiwandi court, Rahul Gandhi launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government.

“Our fight is against the policies of the Prime Minister. Farmers are frustrated and the Prime Minister does not talk about employment for youth. This government is only for the rich,” said Gandhi.

While taking a swipe at Modi’s radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’, Gandhi said that the Prime Minister does not speak about ‘kaam ki baat’ like providing employment to youth or safeguarding farmers.

“Let them (the BJP and the RSS) slap as many cases as they want against me. Ours is a fight of ideology. We will fight them and win,” Gandhi said.

In 2014, RSS worker Rajesh Kunte filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi over his comments during an election campaign where he had blamed RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in 1948. “The RSS people had killed (Mahatma) Gandhi,” the Congress president had allegedly said in a rally.

In 2016, Rahul Gandhi had withdrawn his petition requesting the Supreme Court to dismiss the case, while telling the apex court that he was ready to be tried on charges of defaming the RSS.

Two-day visit

Rahul Gandhi is on a two-day visit to Maharashtra. During his visit, Rahul Gandhi is also expected to address party workers and interact with its corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

On Wednesday, Gandhi is scheduled to meet the kin of Dadaji Khobragade, the rural inventor who revolutionised rice farming, at Chandrapur in Vidarbha, before returning to Delhi.

Khobragade, 78, died earlier this month after a prolonged illness.