NEW DELHI: The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Monday expelled its national spokesperson Shankar Charan Tripathi from the party. The action comes a day after he had criticised Congress president Rahul Gandhi for hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha during the debate on the no-confidence motion.
The Congress and the RJD are allies in Bihar and so an RJD leader slamming the Congress' national president has the potential to damage cordial ties between the two parties.
Tripathi had reportedly said that Rahul's act was childish. While he said that Rahul's speech was good, he reportedly said that his hug for the Prime Minister and later his wink washed away his speech. He added that such an act was unexpected from a person who considers himself a prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
After a no-holds-barred criticism of PM Modi on several issues, Rahul on Friday walked across the well of Lok Sabha to PM Modi and hugged him. Rahul's unexpected gesture was followed by a wink when he came back to his bench.
PM Modi initially looked nonplussed and did not stand up to hug him, but recovered quickly and called Rahul back and patted him on the back. He also appeared to say a few words, which were inaudible. BJP members sitting behind Modi watched the brief interaction open-mouthed as the prime minister smiled at Rahul as he walked back to his seat.
”This is what it means to be a Hindu,” Rahul 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”, Rahul 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.