Video footage of Rahul Gandhi apparently dozing off on Wednesday in the Lok Sabha during a debate on prise rise went viral on the social media. The Congress vice president was seen in a television shot with closed eyes and head tilting on the right.
The shot, picked up from Lok Sabha TV, went viral on the social media accompanied by carping comments. While Congress promptly denied that Rahul was sleeping, BJP taunted it by saying this is what the party was doing on price rise for the last 10 years.
"It is not true. I totally and categorically deny all aspersions," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said lamenting that the matter has been sensationalised and wondered whether it behoves to raise such issues.
He said that for the last seven weeks the government has played "petty and vindictive" politics. BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said,"On the issue of price rise, the Congress has been sleeping for the last ten years.
And today when there was a discussion on price rise in Parliament, Congress's Yuvraj fell asleep. "Congress is not ready to discuss on price rise and inflation. They use the word just for slogans.
Congress is never serious on the issue of price rise and that is why Rahul Gandhi became so bored with this discussion that he slept off," he said. Countering this, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said that a "trivial and frivolous issue" is being unnecessarily highlighted.
"First of all this is not a controversy. This is very trivial and frivolous issue which is being unnecessarily highlighted. In the last 14 years during my Parliament career, I have seen lot many people taking a nap or sleeping or dozing off in Parliament of BJP, Shahnawaz Hussain's own party.
"Sometimes people shut their eyes and listen to the speech very patiently. This must be the case with Rahul Gandhi as well. Atal Bihari Vajpayee always used to shut his eyes to listen to debates. What does it mean?
"Lot many BJP ministers are still sleeping or taking a nap which they call a 'catnap'. Rahul Gandhi must be giving a patient hearing. Unnecessarily you are trying to blow this issue out of proportion," Shukla said.
Meanwhile, NCP too came to the defence of the Congress vice president and said closing one's eyes does not mean sleeping. " Many people in Parliament close their eyes. It does not mean they are sleeping," senior NCP leader Praful Patel said.