Home Politics Rahul Gandhi criticises Howdy, Modi! but his party peers can’t stop praising...

Rahul Gandhi criticises Howdy, Modi! but his party peers can’t stop praising it

Although former Congress president Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the PM for the 'expensive' event, some of his partymen had praise aplenty for Howdy, Modi! show.

Deeksha Bhardwaj
PM Narendra Modi at Howdy, Modi! in Houston Sunday | ANI photo

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Howdy, Modi! event at Houston has exposed cracks in the Congress camp yet again.

One of the first to hit out at PM Modi was former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who took a dig at the “most expensive event in the world” while pointing towards the ongoing slowdown in India.

Senior party leaders Anand Sharma and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot came down heavily on the prime minister for campaigning for US president Donald Trump, saying that he was “not a star campaigner but the PM of India”. 

However, there were others in the party who were quite taken in by the scale of Howdy, Modi!, where the PM was welcomed by a delegation of the US Congress and had US President Donald Trump by his side.

The party’s former Mumbai chief Milind Deora was all praise for Modi’s “momentous” speech at the Houston event. Congress national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi chimed in by acknowledging “India’s soft power” at the event but was careful to add that the PM could have been a little less “political domestically”. 

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor said the PM “deserves respect” on foreign visits because he travels as a representative of India, and foreign policy should be immune to party politics. However, he later tweeted that “former PMs also enjoyed popularity abroad”.  

Last month, both Singhvi and Tharoor had publicly said the prime minister should not be criticised indiscriminately after veteran Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said “demonising” Modi all the time wasn’t going to help the opposition.   

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.


Also Read: Now Congress leaders go at each other over ‘demonising Modi’ after Article 370 dissent

Different stands

Gandhi’s tweet against Howdy, Modi! was posted on 20 September, two days before it was held. Describing the event as the “world’s most expensive ever”, he said “no event can hide the reality of the economic mess ‘HowdyModi’ has driven India into”.

Sharma, meanwhile, slammed the PM for what he described as his election pitch for US President Trump, who is making a bid for re-election in next year’s US polls.

Gehlot took a similar stand, accusing the PM of breaching India’s non-alignment policy, which the country has observed for 70 years.


‘Momentous first’

Deora, however, described Modi’s address to the 50,000-strong crowd of Indian-Americans as a “momentous first for India’s soft power diplomacy”.

His tweet even elicited a response from the prime minister, who acknowledged the role Deora’s father, the late Union minister Murli Deora, played in enhancing India-US ties.

Singhvi hailed the display of India’s “soft power” at the event, though he tempered his praise by expressing his “wish” that the PM had been less “political domestically” and not partisan vis-a-vis US politics.

Shortly after Gandhi’s tweet Friday, Tharoor had said the PM “deserves respect” and that foreign policy was dictated by party politics. He also tweeted the same message.

“The prime minister deserves respect in foreign countries as he is a representative of our nation. But when he is in India, we have the right to ask him questions,” said Tharoor. 

“I would like to send an implicit message outside. We may have differences within our country but when it comes to India’s interest, it is not BJP’s foreign policy nor is it Congress’ foreign policy. It is the Indian foreign policy,” he added. 

However, after the event, he posted a photo of former PM Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi from a visit to the erstwhile USSR in 1955, where he received a rousing reception. Through his tweet, he sought to draw attention to the “enthusiastic spontaneous turnout of the American public (a mistake corrected in a subsequent tweet), without any special PR campaign, NRI crowd management or hyped-up media publicity”.

The praise by all three leaders came on the same day Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh went to Tihar jail to visit former finance minister P. Chidambaram, who has been in prison over his alleged involvement in the INX Media case. The Congress has labelled his arrest a result of the BJP’s “vendetta politics”.   

The Congress has been a divided house since its defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with some of the deepest cracks caused by different views within the party on the scrapping of Article 370.

Also Read: Discontent, dissent & defiance in Congress as Gandhi family begins to lose grip on party


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism


  1. Criticism or praise of Modi ghodi does not make any difference NOW. It is when all his promise shots from the hip fail to materialize and they become another 15 lakh black money for every one’, stupid demonetization fiasco, farnee’s double income etc and the voter view will matter. If past is evidence he will still win the 3rd term. Even south Africa and Brazil have smarter voters. Rahul is wasting time under wrong presumption he owes his mother and father’s India. Those are BS sentiments of 17th century Hindu India. A farmer’s son need not be a farmer. A business man’ son need not become a businessman. I get periodic e mail from the PM office requesting participation in dialogues. On the 1st mail itself I had unsubscribed but the mail keeps being sent. I do not feel obligated to participate because I do not feel qualified. If you all get the drift…….. India needs BJP to learn its lesson. Do not waste your time.

  2. In politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship a warning given by architect of our constitution Dr Ambedkar. We all talk about boycott of videshi products Modi himself was vehement opposer of US multinational. US after China is a major arms supplier. In Imrans presence Trump went on to claim that PM was too harsh on Pak terror. What are we all talking about. Sang parivars Swadeshi Jagran Manch, can rename itself as Videshi Jagran Manch or America Jagran Manch, RSS can tun TSS Trump Sevak Sangh.

  3. Actually, Rahul Gandhi is perturbed and is wondering, as how such a huge crowd can assemble voluntarily? Because, in Congress culture, the crowds are collected by payment. Hence his criticism of Howdy – Modi.

  4. Let us accept it.The PM has managed to put so much pressure on politicians of all hues to appear nationalist. And now he is the ultimate nationalist.Otherwise how can any self respecting Indian look for patronising approval from a person like Potus.Was it required for my PM to heap so much flattery on a person of doubtful reputation across the world ?What for ?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here