The way Rahul Gandhi carried himself and his speech on no-confidence motion was nothing more than a C-Grade Bollywood movie which tends to have all the ‘Masala’ without any substance.

by Arun Anand

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as Congress President Rahul Gandhi walks away after hugging him in the Lok Sabha during a 'no-confidence motion' debate in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Friday, July 20, 2018. (Image: LSTV GRAB via PTI)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi failed yet another crucial test in the Lok Sabha on Friday. He has rightly admitted that he is a ‘Pappu’. And the fact of the matter is that millions of Indians, watched on their screens on Friday, ‘Pappu fail go gaya (Pappu has failed).’ It is time for Congress to seriously consider a change in the leadership if the party really wants to survive.

The way Rahul Gandhi carried himself and his speech on no-confidence motion was nothing more than a C-Grade Bollywood movie which tends to have all the ‘masala’ without any substance. He made unsubstantiated remarks on sensitive defence issues like Rafale fighter jets deal with France and the standoff at Doklam with China.

Within hours of Rahul’s speech, the French government officially denied his version of events. Rahul had tried to project that he was told by the French President, contrary to the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s assertion, that there was no agreement between the two countries stopping the Indian government from revealing the price of the deal. He made unsubstantiated allegations and with denial of the French government, he has put his party in an embarrassing position.

As a face-saving measure, he reacted to the French government’s statement saying , “Let them deny it if they want. He (French President Macron) said that before me. I was there, Anand Sharma and Dr Manmohan Singh were also there.”

Sharma and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh would now have to come clear on this. In future, any head of the foreign state or a foreign dignitary would be wary of interacting with Rahul whose brazen stand and bizarre statements must have taken his own party colleagues by surprise also.

On the Doklam issue, the hard diplomacy of Modi government has been appreciated worldwide and this appreciation is easily available on the worldwide web. But Rahul Gandhi probably doesn’t either keep track of such development or may be his research team ‘googled’ the wrong websites giving him inputs which have made him a laughing stock.

The way Rahul has tried to drag the Indian Defence Forces in the political debate making mockery of them reflects not only his lack of understanding but his attitude of not respecting the sacred institutions of the country. He made fun of the ‘surgical strikes’ by Indian army against terrorists across the border to avenge the killings of our army personnel by using the phrase ‘Jumla’ strike (empty promises).

In an uncontrolled bid to play to the gallery, Rahul used this phrase ‘Jumla’ strike repeatedly in his speech. Never ever before an Indian politician has mocked the Indian defence forces like this in the Parliament.

In fact the tendency to mock the sacred institutions of democracy was the bedrock of his speech. In blatant violation of all norms of parliamentary debates, he made unsubstantiated allegations against the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister without producing any document or even an iota of evidence. He made wild allegations against the BJP chief and his son making wild allegations whereas they were not present in the House and the Speaker had to expunge some of his remarks.

Rahul also got his figures for unemployment wrong. And then last but not the least were his two acts: hugging the Prime Minister and then winking back at his colleagues on the Opposition benches.

This ‘hug-and-wink’ theatrics is going to haunt Congress for a long time. It clearly indicated that the prince of Gandhi family was using Parliament as platform to perform histrionics and was not serious about what he was speaking himself.

Till yesterday, Rahul was one of the most vocal critics of what he himself has termed as ‘Hugplomacy’. His research team had coined this term which he has used on his twitter handle to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is known for hugging the heads of foreign states on several occasions. And at the end of the speech, Rahul decided to go and hug the Prime Minister.

Once he came back, he winked at his own members of Parliament clearly conveying that he was neither serious about his speech nor his actions in the Parliament, the most sacred institution of the country.

However, one thing must go to the credit of Rahul. He has admitted that he is a ‘Pappu’. However, he got it wrong when he said that Modi or the BJP might hate him. He should be happy to know that no one hates him. What should concern him is that no one takes him seriously and after his speech on no-confidence motion he has ensured that no one should dare to do so.