New Delhi, 9 July-2014, NDTV: The sparring between the new government and its predecessor hit a new low today with the ruling BJP alleging that Rahul Gandhi was sleeping during a debate on price rise.
“Rahul Gandhi was seen sleeping in Parliament during a debate on price rise. That’s what the Congress was doing during their 10 yr rule,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said in a scathing tweet.
The Congress immediately denied it, calling it “factually incorrect”.
In footage from Lok Sabha today, Mr Gandhi appeared to have nodded off, his head tilted to the right. He was seen with his eyes closed at around 12.33 pm, when the Congress member in front of him was speaking. His eyes remained shut for about 30 seconds, till he thumped the desk at his party MP’s speech.
As the image went viral on social media, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, “This is low level journalism, these are not issues for debates.”
The new controversy comes at a time many Congress leaders have raised questions about the 44-year-old party vice president’s leadership after the party’s rout in the national election.
Congress’ general secretary Digvijaya Singh intensified the debate when he said last month that Mr Gandhi “lacks the temperament to rule.”
He later told NDTV that his remarks had been misinterpreted, but he admitted that there were “some members who were disappointed with Mr Gandhi’s leadership.” He added, however, that this was not the general mood within the party.
The Congress suffered its worst defeat in the election, winning just 44 seats, not even enough, according to the BJP, to qualify for the post of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.