AP NEW DELHI — India's Parliament on Monday reinstated top opposition leader Rahul Gandhi as a lawmaker three days after the country's top court halted his criminal defamation conviction for mocking the prime minister's surname.

His reinduction as a member of Parliament is likely to strengthen the opposition's effort to corner Narendra Modi's government ahead of a no-confidence motion this week over deadly ethnic violence that has roiled India's northeastern state of Manipur for more than three months.

A fierce critic of Modi and his main challenger in the 2024 polls, Gandhi was ousted from Parliament after his conviction by a magistrate's court in March.

The Supreme Court stayed his conviction Friday, which means it is temporarily halted while the court goes into Gandhi's appeal in detail before issuing a final ruling.

The court's order also means that Gandhi will be able to contest next year's general elections unless a final court decision goes against him.

The defamation case involved comments Gandhi made in a 2019 election speech. Gandhi asked, "Why do all thieves have Modi as their surname?"

He then referred to three well-known and unrelated Modis: a fugitive Indian diamond tycoon, a cricket executive banned from the Indian Premier League and the prime minister.