Home Politics Five reasons why Rahul Gandhi oozed love for Narendra Modi

Five reasons why Rahul Gandhi oozed love for Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi hugs Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his speech in the Lok Sabha | PTI

Rahul Gandhi interrupted his speech, walked across the floor of the House and leaned in to hug PM Modi. ThePrint brings you five reasons why.

New Delhi: Amethi MP and Congress president Rahul Gandhi took everyone by surprise Friday as he interrupted his speech in the Lok Sabha to go across and hug Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A visibly surprised and amused Modi, known for hugging international personalities, kept sitting as the Congress MP leaned in to hug him, amid bursts of laughter all around. He then returned to shake hands with the Prime Minister who whispered something in his ears.

Before he went to Modi for the hug, Gandhi said he was thankful to the PM and the BJP for teaching him what a Hindustani, Hindu and Congressman means.

“It means that even if someone attacks you, ridicules you, and calls you ‘Pappu’, “you love them,” said Gandhi.

But before the melting of heart, Gandhi made a fiery speech attacking Modi for his alleged connections with businessmen from whom, the Congress leader said, Modi benefited. He also took a jibe at the Prime Minister for his “jumla strikes”, including his pre-poll promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh in everyone’s bank account, creation of two crore jobs every year and claims of massive increase in minimum support price for kharif crops.

So, why did the Congress president make the unusual gesture of hugging Modi? There could be five explanations:

First, it appeared to be an attempt to project himself as a victim and the ruling party leaders as aggressors. Modi is known to target the Nehru-Gandhi family in his speeches, especially in Parliament. Gandhi’s reference to his description as “Pappu” by his political rivals was meant to underscore their arrogance. Gandhi’s hug could pre-empt the Prime Minister’s and other BJP leaders’ personal attack on him and his party in the course of the debate during the no-confidence motion.

Second, it could be a veiled defence of Congress leaders who have been charged with alleged acts of ommission and commissions by investigative agencies during the NDA regime.
It came a day after the CBI named former finance minister P Chidambaram as an accused in its chargesheet in Aircel-Maxis case. Gandhi and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, are also on bail in the National Herald case, prompting the Prime Minister to ridicule the Congress party as “bail-gaadi”.

Third, Gandhi’s hug-and-wink gesture could be a subtle attempt to poke fun at the Prime Minister’s penchant for hugging world leaders, a gesture meant to showcase his proximity with the who’s who in international politics.

Fourth, it was an attempt for an image makeover. Gandhi has come to be known as an angry young man who wanted his own government’s ordinance on convicted lawmakers thrown to the dustbin and who tore the purported manifesto of the Samajwadi Party in a public rally in 2012. Friday’s gesture is expected to change this image.

Fifth, Gandhi was trying to underline the contrast between the ideologies of the BJP/Sangh Parivar and the Congress. The Congress has for long accused the Sangh of spreading the ideology of hatred, and asserted that the Congress’ ideology was about love and inclusiveness. The Congress has sought to underline this contrast in the context of the recent incidents of killings and mob lynching of the poor and marginalised sections of the society.

It was not clear whether Rahul Gandhi’s hug-and-wink gesture was pre-planned or came on the spur of the moment. Whatever it may be, but the Congress leader seemed to have won the perception battle on Friday, at least on the social media.