New Delhi, 20/7/18; Congress president Rahul Gandhi today hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and later appeared to wink in some dramatic moments in the Lok Sabha, capping his blistering attack on the BJP mascot, accusing him of being a bhagidar’ (collaborator) in corruption and not a ‘chowkidar’ and saying people were victims of his ‘jumla’ strikes.
Gandhi’s no-holds barred attack at Modi on a range of issues including the controversial Rafale jet deal in his hour-long speech during a debate on the no-confidence motion against the government often sparked loud protests from the treasury benches, but it was his walk across the green-carpeted Well of House at the end to hug Modi that left almost everyone, not the least the prime minister, surprised.
Modi shook Gandhi’s hands but ignored his call to stand so that he could hug the BJP leader. The Congress chief, however, embraced him as he remained seated.
Modi initially looked nonplussed and did not stand up to hug him, but recovered quickly and called Gandhi back and patted him on the back. He also appeared to say a few words, which were inaudible
Gandhi presented it as his show of love for the BJP despite its “abuses”, including calling him ‘pappu’, “hate” and “anger”.He said he was thankful to the BJP and the RSS for teaching him the meaning of Lord Shiva and what it means to be a Hindu and a Congressman.
“This is what it means to be a Hindu,” Gandhi said after returning to his seat amid applause from his party members, including his mother Sonia Gandhi and other leaders present who heartily thumped their desks.
As Gandhi took his seat, he appeared to wink.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan later disapproved of his conduct, saying it was against the parliamentary decorum. Mahajan said she was not opposed to Gandhi’s hug but felt decorum must be maintained when it involved the prime minister.
Gandhi’s gesture was described as “childish behaviour” by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anant Kumar while Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia rejected suggestions that it was preplanned, saying it happened at the spurt of the moment.
Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were “different types of politicians” as they cannot afford to lose power unlike the Congress which is okay to losing it and being in and out of power.
The BJP leaders have been acting “out of fear” as “other processes” will start if they lose power and this has generated anger which is “crushing” India, Gandhi said.