New Delhi: Downplaying the result of the no-confidence vote which was overwhelmingly in favour of BJP-led NDA late Friday night, the opposition parties reacted to the final outcome by saying that the entire exercise was to make the government answer questions and - even if the answers were rhetorics, the objective was met.
While Sonia Gandhi termed PM Narendra Modi's speech in Parliament as 'old rhetoric', Congress president Rahul Gandhi - who himself made a fiery speech but was called out for hugging PM Modi and later winking at party colleagues - said the government's reply on critical issues were weak. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor too did not read too much into the final outcome of voting. "Basic message is that the journey is more important than the destination. Failures of the BJP government were put before the nation. The outcome was predictable but the process was successful," he said. Leader of opposition in Mallikarjun Kharge too was not impressed with what he heard of PM Modi. "We posed questions to PM Modi on Rafael deal, Nirav Modi etc but he didn`t answer any. His speech was 'dramebaazi.' He didn`t say anything for people of Andhra Pradesh. He was telling us what previous governments have done and not what his government has done in four years."
It was TDP that had brought about the no-confidence motion and its lawmaker in Jayadev Gulla led the case for special status to the state of Andhra Pradesh. Party MP K Srinivasa later said that a moral victory had been achieved by the opposition parties. "It is not about majority, it is about morality. Morality won today."
Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi rose to the occasion to question the Modi government on numerous issues - including demonetisation, Doklam crisis and on promises made during elections. Some said it was his best speech in Parliament so far. Others were not impressed. But almost everyone was taken aback when Rahul Gandhi ended his speech and walked to give PM Modi a hug. Critics called it amateurish on his part. So did PM Modi. While the criticism was not so much about the gesture but of the statements made, PM Modi lashed out at Congress' dynastic politics and at its president for what he called were unsubstantiated allegations.
While both camps claimed victory at the end of the day - moral or otherwise, both camps would now also surely look at the next line of firing against each other.
(With agency inputs)