Before a stunned House, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday left the Opposition benches, strode past the Lok Sabha Speaker’s chair and over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seat, and gave the Bharatiya Janata Party leader a big bear hug.
Modi, who initially looked surprised, obliged. He even called the Congress president back for a handshake, and whispered a few words in his ear. We have no way of knowing what they were — but he was smiling.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who looked amused as Gandhi walked across the House, sounded less impressed a few seconds later: “This is not necessary”.
Just before he hugged the prime minister, Gandhi said he had no hatred for the BJP — despite, he said, being on the receiving end of their hatred and their abuse, and being called “Pappu”.
There’s a small twist, though. The Congress boss winked at his fellow partymen after the hug.
“We cannot thank you enough for the entertainment!” the BJP tweeted after the rare show of bonhomie. Consider that just minutes before pulling his stunt, the Rahul Gandhi accused the saffron party of inflicting “jumla strikes” on the Indian people, and accused the defence minister of lying about a “secrecy clause” in the Rafale deal.
The Congress’s social media team didn’t pass up the chance for a bit of political gamesmanship either.
The focus of today’s Lok Sabha session is a debate on a motion of no-confidence against the Narendra Modi government — and on Twitter, the hashtag #BhookampAaneWalaHai (“An earthquake is coming” — a reference to a comment once made by Rahul Gandhi) has been trending.
Rahul’s little gesture of goodwill wasn’t quite an earthquake — but we can be sure that a few hearts stopped in pleasant surprise.
News credit : Indiatoday