Congress President Rahul Gandhi surprised everybody on Friday (July 20) with his powerful speech followed by an unprecedented gesture of embracing Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the BJP-led NDA government in the Parliament.
“You can abuse me, you can call me Pappu, but I don’t have a speck of hatred against you. I will take this hatred out of you and turn it into love. I am the Congress,” said Rahul Gandhi looking directly towards PM Modi. He then got up from his seat and went on to hug the Prime Minister. Stunned with Gandhi’s sharp speech followed by a ‘bear hug’, PM Modi took some time to recover. He called Gandhi back and said something into Gandhi’s ear and patted him on his back.
Congress President also thanked PM Modi for showing him the importance of Congress.
“I thank the Prime Minister for showing me the importance of Congress, the true meaning of Lord Shiva. I know I am a Pappu for you, but I don’t have any anger against you,” he said.
Rahul’s performance in the lower house earned him a standing ovation from the Opposition members and praises from Sonia Gandhi.
She was “very happy” with son Rahul’s performance and “also happy that the media is changing too,” reported NDTV.
Soon after the incident, micro-blogging website Twitter was flooded with reactions. While many praised Gandhi for his strong performance during the first no-confidence movement in the house in 15 years, some labelled it as ‘melodrama’.
RG blurted out what all he practised during Karnataka campaign, added some melodrama n topped it all with a wink to his colleagues n declaring ‘I am Congress’. Not a word on what TDP ‘reader’ has said moving NCM. RM has already exposed some of his lies. Rest later n d day
— Ram Madhav (@rammadhavbjp) July 20, 2018
Applauding Gandhi’s performance in the Parliament, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor said that the speech was a game-changer and brought an earthquake in the house:
What an astonishing performance by @RahulGandhi. It was a game-changing speech, tearing apart the Govt ’s claims & ending with that unscripted hug that has literally taken the BJP’s breath away #BhukampAaGaya
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 20, 2018
Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, also took to Twitter to appreciate Gandhi’s speech and jaw-dropping hugging gesture.
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) July 20, 2018
Responding to the Twitter trolls who painted Gandhi’s speech and gesture as ‘melodramatic’, senior journalist R.K. Radhakrishnan said in his tweet:
Dismissing every act as Tamasha is generally the mentality of the India middle class. I've seen performances in Parliaments across four countries and this speech by @RahulGandhi was good by any standards. He grew from a pappu to a leader just with this one speech https://t.co/be9rGNJVqg
— R.K.Radhakrishnan (@RKRadhakrishn) July 20, 2018
During the debate on the no-confidence motion against the Modi government on the third day of the monsoon session, Rahul Gandhi took up several issues in his speech to launch a sharp attack on the ruling BJP.
Launching a scathing attack on the BJP, Gandhi said that PM Modi ruled out of fear, and that fear had turned into anger now.
“The Prime Minister and the BJP president are a different type of politicians. They are not like us [Congress]. We are okay with winning and losing, staying in and out of power. But they cannot afford to lose power. They fear losing power. It is this fear that is turning as anger,” said the Amethi MP.
In his speech, Gandhi said that the Modi government was known for “jumla strikes” and has failed to fulfil promises made to the people. Picking up the issue of unemployment, he said, “China has given 50,000 youths jobs in 24 hours, while this government has given only 400 youths jobs in 24 hours.”
Gandhi once again picked up the Rafale fighter aircraft deal and alleged corruption in handing over the contract to a businessman instead of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
“Why was the contract taken away from HAL and the youngsters of Karnataka, and given to a businessman who has a debt of ₹30,000 crore?” he asked.
Responding to Gandhi’s allegations, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The agreement of secrecy was signed by the then Defence Minister and this agreement clearly mentioned that the value of the jets cannot be disclosed.”