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Why Rahul Gandhi's tweet actually got the BJP's goat

Charu Kartikeya | Updated on: 28 December 2017, 16:11 IST
(Prakash Singh/AFP)

Congress President Rahul Gandhi's latest swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for never meaning what he says could have been reason enough for the BJP to outrage. However, it looks like it is actually a tiny little part of Gandhi's statement has got the BJP's goat.

“Dear Mr Jaitlie - thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means. #BJPLies”, Gandhi had tweeted in the evening on December 27.

His tweet came just hours after Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had said in the House that “nothing should be said to hurt the dignity of the Prime Minister”.

Azad had said that while thanking the Leader of the House Arun Jaitley for saying unequivocally that Modi, the NDA government and the BJP held former prime minister Manmohan Singh in high regard.

Jaitley's statement, in turn, was an attempt to put a lid on the controversy triggered by Modi's insinuation during the electoral campaign in Gujarat that Manmohan Singh had conspired with Pakistan to ensure BJP's loss in state Assembly elections.

That controversy had led to obstruction in both Houses of the Parliament for last several days. Congress members had been demanding an apology from Modi to Singh as well as former vice president Hamid Ansari, who had also been named in Modi's comments.

Jaitley's statement and Azad's welcome had ended the uproar, allowing the Parliament to run. However, Gandhi's tweet at the fag end of the day suggested that the tussle was yet to come to an end.

As Rajya Sabha began to settle down for business after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement on 28 December, BJP's Bhupender Yadav stood up to raise a point of order. Gandhi's tweet, Yadav asserted, was a breach of privilege of – wait for this – Jaitley, even though the swipe was primarily targeted at Modi.

The reason for the breach, according to Yadav, was that Gandhi had deliberately twisted the finance minister's name in his tweet. For those who might have missed it, Gandhi's tweet addressed Jaitley as 'Jaitlie'.

It is not clear whether this was a typo or a deliberate jibe, because neither has Gandhi retracted or corrected that tweet nor has the Congress said anything on the matter.

However, it has been proved to be strong enough to hurt the sentiments of the party that it is in power with a brute majority at the Centre and partial/full majority in as many as 19 states now. It is ironic that BJP wants to get away with something as sinister as trying to present a former PM and a former VP as traitors, but wants accountability for a mere tweet from the other side.

If you are not feeling as irked as Yadav, you can take a look at some of the responses to Gandhi's tweet that indicate confusion among Twitterati on whether it was a mistake or a clever jab.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 28 December 2017, 16:11 IST
Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya

Assistant Editor at Catch, Charu enjoys covering politics and uncovering politicians. Of nine years in journalism, he spent six happily covering Parliament and parliamentarians at Lok Sabha TV and the other three as news anchor at Doordarshan News. A Royal Enfield enthusiast, he dreams of having enough time to roar away towards Ladakh, but for the moment the only miles he's covering are the 20-km stretch between home and work.