A hug shakes Indian politics
For the BJP, it was "drama." For the Congress, it was an "unscripted" win. For the rest, it was plain amusing. Rahul Gandhi hugging PM Narendra Modi has managed to garner more attention than our dignified MPs throwing mikes, tearing up bills and attacking each other with chairs in the parliament and state assemblies. BJP won the trust vote, but Congress won major traction.
RaGa's speech was apparently even more 'entertaining' than usual
While speaking in the Lok Sabha yesterday before the trust vote, Gandhi slammed Modi and the BJP over a range of issues - Rafale deal, special status to Andhra Pradesh, unemployment, GST and more. At one point, Modi laughed out when the Congress president seemed to make a gaffe: "PM bahar mein jaate hain...". 'Bahar' sounded like 'bar.' Quickly, he clarified himself and continued with his speech.
A hug and a wink
What dimmed everything else was when Gandhi walked to the well, turned to the sitting Modi, bent and spoke to him. Everyone stared as Gandhi stretched and wrapped the PM in a hug. He ended it with a mischievous wink to party colleagues Jyotiraditya Scindia and KC Venugopal that seemed to signal 'mission accomplished.' Even Priya Prakash Varrier, Queen of Winks, had to respond!
Why RaGa did it, in RaGa's words
"The meaning of being Hindu is to embrace the whole world. The whole world may abuse you, call you Pappu, but you should have love in your heart. This is the history and the future of this country," he said.
'Reminds me of Chipko movement'
Most BJP leaders weren't having it. "The Chipko movement has started in Parliament," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, adding, "This isn't good." MP Kirron Kher invited the Congress president to join Bollywood. "Somebody should make him understand the dignity of his position," said Union Minister Babul Supriyo. Even Speaker Sumitra Mahajan slammed him. "There is a decorum for every Parliamentarian," she chided.
'Astonishing performance, unscripted hug'
Congress leaders, meanwhile, celebrated the "spur of the moment" gesture. "What an astonishing performance by @RahulGandhi... That unscripted hug...literally (took) the BJP's breath away," tweeted Shashi Tharoor. Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked why the saffron party was so angry. "Rahul has shown to Modi the Congress's mirror of love. You may hate, we would love. You divide, we would spread goodwill. Because we are Congress."
Other parties realized what's 'important'
Others focused on something more important. "We think it was childish, but it was good for optics. It also shows that Rahul can match acting with acting," a Left MP told IE. Well, the man did spend time eating roadside 'kulfi' to woo the masses...
We hope 2019 brings us many more such moments
In the end, BJP won the motion 325-126. Though real issues were raised during the 12-hour debate, they were buried under the heap of attention that Gandhi's hug received. BJP is now back to governing. Congress and others are back to strategizing for 2019. With the kind of antics ongoing in politics, we are sure the next year will bring us more absurd moments.