Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s surprise gesture to hug Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha after his speech during the no-confidence debate had Twitter abuzz today with jokes aplenty and the hashtags “pappukijhappi”, “bhookampaagaya” and “hugplomacy” trending on the microblogging site. Many remembered “Munnabhai”, the character from the eponymous Bollywood film who hugged his opponents in a bid to win them over and prove the relevance of Gandhian values.
As visuals of the Congress president walking across the House to hug Modi were played repeatedly across television channels and social media platforms, some recalled the prime minister’s own penchant for hugging leaders and some referred to Gandhi’s mocking moniker Pappu. Twitter user Tushar said, “Jadu ki Jhappi in Parliament would have won Bapu’s admiration.
A refreshing change from Gali Galoch politics of the day. Bravo! @RahulGandhi”. “@narendramodi gets a taste of his own hugs from @RahulGandhi! And that too minutes after @HarsimratBadal_ said that Parliament is not for “Munna Bhai’s puppy- jhappis,” another Twitter user said. Ankur Singh tweeted, “Even more awkward hug #Hugplomacy.” “Pappu becomes Munna Bhai!” Sitanshu Shukla said. Bollywood actor Rajkumar Rao tweeted, “Today is official Hug day”. “Rahulji gives a lesson to serial hugger Modiji on hugplomacy. #BhookampAaGaya,” K Chandrakumar wrote. Given Modi’s visible surprise, one user brought up the issue of consent and called it the “most forced hug” of all times. Priyanka Bansal tweeted, “The most forced hug of all times probably. Consent Ka kya, Mr. Gandhi?#NoConfidenceMotion #PappuKiJhappi” Modi, who initially looked nonplussed and did not stand up to hug him, recovered quickly and called Gandhi back and patted him on the back.
Gandhi later appeared to be winking, a picture which went viral with Twitter users drawing a parallel between the Congress president and Malayalam actor Priya Prakash Varrier who became an internet sensation with her wink from a film song, “Manikya Malaraya Poovi”.
“Rahul Gandhi’s Priya Varrier moment after ‘The Hug’ #ModiTrustVote,” Vipin Vijayan tweeted. Another Twitter user, Harsh Singhavi, said, “Pappu is learning from Priya.” “Move out Priya Warrier you have got a tough Competition in Rahul Gandhi!! On a serious note this is what Pappu and Congress has reduced Parliament to. Cheap antics ,Fake Jhapis, Sly winks,” read another tweet.
“Why did Baba Ramdev cried? When LS speaker Sumitra Mahajan said- ‘winking is not appropriate in Parliament’,” Sumit Mondal said. Gandhi said in his speech that Modi, the BJP and the RSS had taught him the meaning of being a member of the Congress party, an Indian and a Hindu. “Being an Indian and being a Congressman means no matter what falsehood someone speaks against you, you do not harbour ill-will against them. For this, I thank you,” Gandhi said. He concluded his speech by saying, “You can call me things, You can call me Pappu, but I do not have any hate for you”.