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The Hug and the Wink: How Rahul Gandhi created history in Lok Sabha during no-trust vote debate

Picture-perfect! Photo of the year! Historic! These are some of the way many described the unprecedented hug between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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The Hug and the Wink: How Rahul Gandhi created history in Lok Sabha during no-trust vote debate
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Picture-perfect! Photo of the year! Historic! These are some of the ways many described the unprecedented hug between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Known for his bear hugs, the Prime Minister was completely stunned and by what happened during the no-confidence motion debate in the Lok Sabha. 

After absolutely scathing criticism and pointed attacks against the Modi government on several issues including Rafale jet deal, Congress president walked across the green-carpeted well of the Lok Sabha to PM and hugged him, a gesture which took the Treasury Bench members by surprise.

 

Gandhi's unexpected gesture quickly became the video of the year. Gandhi's speech was frequently disrupted and prompting Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to adjourn the House for 15 minutes. When he resumed his speech, Gandhi continued his attack. Just before wrapping up, he strode over to PM Modi for the now-famous hug. 

PM Modi initially looked nonplussed and did not stand up to hug him, but recovered quickly and called Gandhi back and patted him on the back. He also appeared to say a few words, which were inaudible. BJP MPs sitting behind PM Modi watched the brief interaction open-mouthed as the prime minister smiled at Gandhi as he walked back to his seat. 

"This is what it means to be a Hindu," Gandhi said after coming back to his seat amid applause from his party members, including his mother Sonia Gandhi and other leaders present who heartily thumped their desks.

Sharply criticised for his reported remarks that "Congress is a Muslim party", Gandhi said, "Prime Minister Modi, BJP and ...have taught me what it means to be a Congress person, the meaning of being a real Indian, and what it means to be a real Hindu. For this, I thank them." He also said his opponents may hate him, call him "Pappu" but he has no anger, hatred against the Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party. 

This is likely the first time that an opposition leader has hugged the prime minister in the house, especially during a no-confidence motion. Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur stood up and took objection to Gandhi's hug. 

Speaker Mahajan also gently reminded Gandhi ‘ye drama band kijiye’ and said that this was the country's legislature and not a place for such gestures. 

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