Weighing outcome of Modi versus Rahul grapple

PM Narendra Modi & LoP Rahul Gandhi

Image credit video grabs of Sansad TV

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Rahul Gandhi versus Narendra Modi rings arrival of Opposition in parliament

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, July 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke for almost 120-minute in the Lok Sabha in reply to the motion of thanks to President Droupadi Murmu’s address to joint session of parliament. The Opposition forced him to wear a headphone through the speech.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi, had spoken for about 100-minute. He too was shouted at by the treasury benches.

Modi lobbed ‘Mujra’ barb at the Congress during the Lok Sabha elections. Sanjay Leela Bhansali had screened his film ‘Heeramandi’ at a time when the electioneering for the elections was underway.

Modi’s ‘Mujra’ barb was apparently inspired by ‘Heeramandi’. Modi on Tuesday in the Lok Sabha again leaned on Bollywood again to singe the Congress.

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So, ‘Mausi’ from the film Sholay lent the punch for Modi against the Congress. His other blows against the Congress largely consisted of a re-reading of a list of scams since 1950s.

While Modi was speaking in the Lok Sabha, the media fraternity discussed the Gandhi speech made a day before in the lower House of parliament. Gandhi again grabbed significant media space a day after by shooting off a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla. Gandhi demanded restoration of his expunged portions of the speech.

Union Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh and his Cabinet colleague Amit Shah pressed for and got through a resolution to condemn the Opposition for creating ruckus during the speech of Modi. This is one of a kind for several decades.

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Gandhi sprung a surprise in the role of leader of the Opposition during the speech of Modi. He brought forth the two Lok Sabha MPs from Manipur – Alfred Kan Ngam Arthur (Outer Manipur) and Angomcha Bimol Akoijam (Inner Manipur).

By fronting the two Manipur MPs and raising demands that they be allowed to speak in the presence of Modi, Gandhi showed that he had a strategy in place and got the whole Opposition to execute it with perfection.

Manipur is the raw nerve in the Modi dispensation. The Opposition has read vindication in the forceful exhortation of Mohan Bhagwat, the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) sarsanghchalak.

Bhagwat had lamented that Manipur was still waiting for peace. He had asked the new government at the Centre to prioritise the challenge of Manipur violence.

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Birla had ordered Gandhi’s mention of NEET, hate, and two names of corporate heads expunged. Gandhi struck chord with agitating students’ community and their parents by raising the issue of NEET and letting the pressure off from the government.

In contrast, Modi speech was short of headlines grabbing punchlines. He was seen repetitive and defensive.

While Birla announced the adjournment of the Lok Sabha sine die, the message, arguably, had gone that the Opposition finally gained muscles on skeleton that ridiculed it for past 10 years.

Note: Opinion expressed in the article solely belongs to the author.

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