The debate happening in the Lok Sabha over the no confidence motion moved by one of the former alliance partners of the BJP was covered by the national television channels as if it was some dramatic wrestling slugfest. The twists and turns were interesting Rahul Gandhi going close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hugging him in full view of the house became the main talking point all over. The hug by Rahul Gandhi, pushed aside the attention from the entire debate about no confidence motion!
The whole debate about whether the government should enjoy the confidence of the Lok Sabha or not and if not what are the reasons behind it was forgotten by the national media which kept talking only about the hug!
The focus has to be on why a former alliance partner like TDP feels like pushing a no confidence motion and why a current ally like Shiv Sena feels like abstaining from the voting on this debate?
There was not much new in what Rahul Gandhi spoke for over an hour in the Lok Sabha, all the elements were heard earlier. The promises made by the BJP during 2014 campaign not kept, questions over the French Rafael aircraft deal, the job losses after demonetisation, inflation and other issues were spoken about earlier many times. This was not appealing or attractive, so Rahul perhaps had to top it with some action which could become talking point for the nation. But by doing this act of suddenly going and hugging the PM, he ended up trivialising the matter.
The BJP leadership came out launching a scathing attack against Rahul for this act. While the party spokespersons were targeting Rahul Gandhi over his action, inside the house speaker Sumitra Mahajan expressed complete displeasure over Rahul’s actions saying it was violation of decorum inside the house. She also said that Rahul’s wink after the hug which was repeatedly shown on national news channels was a wrong thing to do inside the house.
While the debate should have been focussing on how the government is performing, what the alliance partners feel about their role in governance and whether the government enjoys the support of majority of the members of the Lok Sabha, it got trivialised for a long time in media because of Rahul’s act of suddenly going across the well of the house and hugging the Prime Minister in full view of Lok Sabha.
The Congress party has suffered many setbacks in the recent past because of their leaders slipping at crucial stage of important proceedings. During the Gujarat elections, Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comments about the Prime Minister became very controversial and the party was on the back foot because of those comments. Recently Congress leader Shashi Tharoor faced some flack because of his comments on so called “Hindu Pakistan”, Rahul’s action in the Lok Sabha on Friday was a similar slip which took away the focus from a crucial debate.