Rahul's speech, hug to PM: BJP calls it immature; Congress says 'game changing'
New Delhi, July 20: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's speech and his hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today found support from opposition parties, including the RJD and the AAP, even as the BJP termed it an "immature" act.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the prime minister often hugged the heads of foreign countries so what was wrong with Gandhi hugging him in Parliament.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav also termed the speech as "fantastic" and congratulated Gandhi for "unearthing their mines of lies".
"Oh that wink my friend! Hit them hard where it hurts...Congratulations for unearthing their mines of lies and a fantastic speech @RahulGandhi," Yadav tweeted.
Gandhi's speech also got support from former Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav who tweeted," Sh @RahulGandhi spoke very well and honestly, as a matter of fact he narrated the feelings of every citizen of the country. I congratulate him for his excellent speech in Lok Sabha. People are really fed up of this government and I agree with what he said."
After a no-holds barred and scathing criticism of the prime minister on several issues including the Rafale jet deal, the Congress leader walked across the green-carpeted well of Lok Sabha to Modi and hugged him, a gesture which took the Treasury Bench members by surprise.
Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, however, took potshots at Gandhi, asking what did he have today before coming to Parliament, while claiming that the opposition leader had accused Punjabis of being "nashedi (drug addicts)".
The Akali Dal leader stood up and objected to Gandhi's hug, saying he cannot have this "pappi-jhappi moment" in the House.
Gandhi had earlier said that members of the ruling coalition also appreciated his speech when the House was adjourned briefly and referred to Badal, sitting on the Treasury benches, saying that the woman leader from the Akali Dal was also smiling at him.
Meanwhile the BJP termed Gandhi's hug an "immature" act and said his speech during the no-confidence motion was "low on substance" and "high on entertainment". BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "It was low on substance and high on entertainment value. Since yesterday, the country was observing Rahul and wanted to hear his speech."
"He (Rahul) had said last time that when he would speak, there would be an earthquake. We waited for 15 minutes, half-an-hour, one hour, but nothing transpired as there was no substance in the speech of Rahul Gandhi," he said.
The BJP spokesperson also disapproved the "kind of entertainment Gandhi made out of his speech by saying--BJP and RSS taught him (Gandhi) what Hindustani and Hindu means".
Patra also criticised the Congress leader for "pointing fingers at an MP and saying--she was smiling at me", in a reference to Badal. He said Gandhi should have dealt with the issues in Parliament "maturely".
Criticising the Congress chief's gesture, actor-turned-politician and BJP MP Kirron Kher said, "He can go to Bollywood...We have come from there but now he can go after fine-tuning his acting skills.
Union minister Babul Supriyo also said "The Congress has a tradition, a history. Even though they have done many wrongs, they should respect that (tradition and history).
"What is this? This is no gallery show. Is it a one act play that one comes and hugs the prime minister," Supriyo said.
The Congress president was however hailed by his party leaders for a "game-changing speech" and said the hug was a spur-of-the-moment move and not a scripted one.
"What an astonishing performance by @RahulGandhi. It was a game-changing speech, tearing apart the govt's claims and ending with that unscripted hug that has literally taken the BJP's breath away #BhukampAaGaya," Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted.
Another Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said, "It (hug) was not scripted. It was in the spur of the moment." The party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked why the BJP was shaken and why was there so much anger in the saffron party.
"Why isn't the seedling of love growing. Why so much hatred for Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. The PM should have thought that even after being junior to him, the way he (Rahul) showed respect, he should have at least thanked him for that," Surjewala said.
He said the country knew the truth and even if Modi might not give answers to the questions raised by Gandhi he should tell the nation when would farmers get rid of debts, when would youths get two crore jobs every year and when would atrocities stop on Dalits, women and weaker sections.
"Be it Giriraj Singh, or Harsimrat Kaur, or Kiron Kher or Smriti Irani or BJP's official troll spokesperson, I have only one thing to say -- Raghupathi Raghav Raja Ram, Aapko bhi sanmati de bhagwan," he said.
Congress Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken also termed Gandhi's speech as "excellent" and his hug a "winner".
"Excellent speech by @RahulGandhi. His four words phrase is going to haunt Modi for a long long time! Cahukidar nahi bhagidar hai. @RahulGandhi's 'hug' was a winner, and this gesture is an answer to the enormous hatred spread under the BJP's governance!," he tweeted.