How Rahul Gandhi's wink stopped a great political moment from being realised

The Congress president couldn't hide the elation over having actually left Modi dumbfounded.

 |  3-minute read |   21-07-2018
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It could have set the benchmark for courtesy in parliamentary democracy. The All India Congress Committee president and prime ministerial aspirant Rahul Gandhi walking up to the treasury bench and giving incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his political rival a bear hug during the no-confidence motion debate.

It could have set an example of spontaneity, genuine respect for elder political adversaries by their younger counterparts, often criticised for being arrogant.

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It could have ended all the acrimony, the crass name-calling, the Pappu jokes and a lot of negativity.

But unfortunately, Rahul Gandhi 'gesture' fell short of setting the benchmark and became a victim of its anti-climax when the Gandhi scion walked back to his seat after all the hugging and hand-shaking, looking at his colleagues and sharing that smut "see-I-hoodwinked-him" wink.

Oh, what a wink!

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Even Priya Prakash Varrier, who stormed the social media with her heart-warming wink, couldn't help appreciate it as a "sweet gesture".

As the world of politics waited with bated breath seeing titans of two opposite political poles hold each other in a hug, for close to a minute, and speculation went wild over whether a new history will be scripted came the "blink". And the opportunity was lost.

Politicians, who almost skipped a heartbeat conjecturing how the hug might change the course of the remaining "no-confidence" motion, felt their hearts pounding back in synchronised rhythm.

The BJP leaders heaved a sigh of relief, rubbishing the embrace as a cheap slapstick stunt, which a Pappu-like Rahul Gandhi could script, even as Congress leaders beamed in the belief that their party chief had beaten the great dramabaaz (Narendra Modi) in his own theatrics.

Even Modi was taken aback. He didn't know what to do when Rahul bent to hold him, the 56-inch pride overtaken by the young turk, the bearded face peeping behind Rahul's back, confused and expressionless — not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

After Rahul finally let go of him, Modi had little choice but to call him close, shake hands vigorously and exchange a warm smile.

For all the Pappu barbs hurled on him for years, Rahul for a moment was on an ascent in the public eye with people seriously beginning to believe that he's fast learning the ropes of the trade to be able to take on Modi in 2019 as a suitable prime ministerial candidate.

But he sank as he rose.

The ice between the two froze as quickly as it thawed. True to his immaturity, Rahul couldn't hide the elation over having actually left Modi dumbfounded.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said firmly that it was unbecoming on the part of parliamentarians to embrace the prime minister, especially when he's sitting in Parliament House.

She also rapped Rahul Gandhi for the wink, which she again felt had robbed the gravity and sobriety of the House.

The BJP leaders, who felt checkmated by Rahul's dramatics, dubbed it as poor in taste. Smriti Irani went on to say that the gesture was nothing but complete surrender of the AICC president in advance, having realised that his game was over.

BJP MP Kirron Kher said that it was Rahul's turn to enter Bollywood now that some Hindi cinema stars like her have entered Parliament.

What went down in the record was a frivolous act leading to some real entertainment in the House because in these days of hurling of abuses, lobbing of shoes, and throwing of furniture, one doesn't get to see such moments of unalloyed joy, even if it's all sham.

Also read: No-confidence motion: How Congress and other Opposition parties fell in BJP's trap

Writer

Romita Datta Romita Datta

The writer is Associate Editor, India Today.

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