Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Photograph:( PTI )
Gandhi was addressing the students of Chennai Stella Maris College when a student rose to ask a question addressing him as sir.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who kickstarted party campaign in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, addressed students as part of outreach programme and during an address, a girl student asked him a question and addressed him as ''sir''. The Gandhi scion in response asked her to call him sir.
Gandhi was addressing the students of Chennai Stella Maris College when a student rose to ask a question addressing him as sir. Gandhi intervened immediately and told her, can you call me Rahul? Following which the students erupted in a burst of huge laughter.
Gandhi also said that he has "genuine" affection for Narendra Modi and that is what he tried to show when he hugged the prime minister after watching him become "very angry" in Parliament.
Congress president recalled the day he hugged Modi and said he cannot hate him since love "is in the country's grain, every religion, and the Tamil people".
When a student asked why he chose to hug the prime minister, Gandhi said he watched a 'very angry' Modi in Parliament running down his party, his late father Rajiv Gandhi and mother Sonia.
However, deep inside, he said, he felt affection for Modi and he thought Modi was angry "because he is not able to see the beauty of the world".
"So I thought that at least from my side, I should show him some affection."
When Rahul said, "I genuinely feel love for the Prime Minister," the students broke into laughter and raised their voices, to which he repeated "I genuinely do (love him)."
The Congress leader, participating in his first such interaction during his one-day tour of Tamil Nadu, said people who do not have affection towards others are the ones who are not loved. "... And that was why he (Modi) generates anger," he claimed.
(With inputs from agencies)