To be fair to Rahul, he was present in the House right from the start of the discussion. However, by the time the second speaker, P Karunakaran of the CPM, started his argument, the Gandhi scion was seen yawning, his eyelids appeared to droop and his head flopped, all actions associated with a disinterested listener drifting off to sleep. Since Gandhi’s catnap lasted barely a few seconds, it escaped the notice of most members but was captured by the Lok Sabha cameras. In fact, Rahul’s placement right behind Karunakaran ensured that they appeared in the same frame as the Kerala leader put forth his arguments on price rise.
Reacting to Rahul’s catnap, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain tweeted: “Rahul Gandhi was seen sleeping in Parliament during a debate on price rise. That’s what the Congress was doing during their 10 year rule.”
However, senior Congress leader Rajeev Shukla retorted that BJP had no right to target Rahul over an issue as trivial and frivolous as a catnap. “A lot of BJP MPs keep dozing off during important debates. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee use to shut is eyes in a “patient hearing” of the debate … Rahul may have been doing the same,” said Shukla.
Even Congress allies like NCP sprung to Rahul’s defence, with party leader Praful Patel stating that “just because people close their eyes in Parliament doesn’t mean they are sleeping”.