New Delhi, Jul 20: Hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the no-confidence motion debate in Parliament, Union Minister Smriti Irani criticized him by saying that his gesture reeked of political hypocrisy. Earlier in the day, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had walked across to the ruling benches and hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, taking everyone in the Lok Sabha by surprise. He later winked at his party members.  (No-confidence Motion Debate LIVE Updates)

“I have not an iota of hatred or hard feelings against you. You hate me. You may call me Pappu, you can use a stream of expletives for me. But I don’t hate you or have even slightest of anger for you. I am the Congress,” Gandhi had said at the end of his nearly 40-minute fiery speech. (ALSO READ:Rahul Gandhi’s Hug Has Lowered Decorum of House, Says LS Speaker Sumitra Mahajan)

Gandhi accused Modi of lying to the nation and making empty rhetoric “jumlas” to deceive the poor of the country. He also lashed out at the government and questioned Modi’s silence over women not feeling safe in the country and people from the minority communities being lynched.

Reacting on the allegations levied by the Congress scion, Irani said that Gandhi’s speech lacked substance. “He did not have enough proof to prove the allegation. He was fudging facts in his speech and peddling lies,” she said. (ALSO READ: No-confidence Motion: BJP to Move Privilege Motion Against Rahul Gandhi For His ‘False Allegations’)

After Gandhi’s hug, however, the Opposition members gave him a standing ovation and thumped their desks but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said such a conduct was against the rules of the House and asked him to refrain from doing any such things. The act wasn’t taken lightly as the Lok Sabha members slammed the Congress president for acting like Munna Bhai and giving “pappi jhappi”. On being asked about the hug, the Congress said that it was not a “nautanki” but a gesture.

Earlier in the day, the Congress president had attacked the Modi government on a slew of issues including the rising mob lynchings, slow economic growth and safety of women during the no-confidence motion debate in the Lok Sabha. Calling the government a “jumla sarkar”, he said, “The symptoms of the jumla strike include – First there is a great sense of excitement and happiness. After that there is shock and then followed by regret.”

(With agency inputs)