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Rahul's 'thrust and hug' strategy overshadows ailing Parrikar's return to assembly


IANS Panaji
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday re-enacted his 'thrust and hug' policy once again, this time in Goa, when he suddenly dropped in to pay a courtesy call to ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, just a day after he charged Parrikar with possessing "explosive files" related to the Rafale deal.
The move, which caught everyone including the media, the treasury benches as well as several Congress MLAs unawares, is similar to the drama which played out in Parliament in July, when after a rousing speech in which Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Democratic Alliance government, the Congress president hugged a surprised Modi in the Lok Sabha and followed it up with a not-too-discreet wink.
While the Gandhi's dexterous choreography took the attention away from the Congress losing the trust vote in Parliament, Rahul's surprise visit to the Goa legislative assembly, ostensibly to pay a courtesy call to the ailing Chief Minister on Tuesday, potentially pulls the attention away from the day's biggest story: Parrikar's dramatic return to the state legislative assembly in the midst of his battle against cancer.
There was speculation as to whether the visibly unwell Parrikar would attend the ongoing three-day budget session. When Parrikar walked into the assembly on Tuesday, with medical appendage strapped to him, the former Defence Minister had to be helped to his seat in the state assembly by marshals, who also helped him stand up to bid the Governor Mridula Sinha farewell after she delivered her formal address to legislators.
According to state Congress president Girish Chodankar, the meeting with Parrikar at the state assembly complex, was in keeping with Rahul Gandhi's politics of dealing with all with love, compassion and no ill-will even to the political adversaries.
"It is not just a courtesy call but one of care and concern and mirrors our party's ideology of believing in politics of compassionate behaviour with humanity and society at heart," state Congress president Girish Chodankar said.
On Monday, a tweet by Gandhi, who is holidaying in Goa with his mother Sonia, in which he said that Parrikar had a hold over Modi, because he posses explosive document related to the Rafale deal had stoked controversy.
The state Congress president also alluded to Gandhi's hug in Parliament.
"You may recall that our president had even hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament, passing on the message that Congress knows to spread love even to the arch political rivals. That is why despite being on a private visit, our national president managed to take time off to meet him," Chodankar said.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 10:04 PM IST

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