Mumbai: It was a press conference presided over by PM Modi that was not to be. Eighteen questions were asked but Modi maintained a studious silence. All questions were taken by his Man Friday Amit Shah, who was sitting next to him. As against this Rahul Gandhi, who was hosting a parallel press conference, answered all the 15 questions that were posed to him.

At the press conference organised at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, when the media deflected questions to the prime minister, Shah said he need not answer them. An Aaj Tak correspondent insisted on asking the prime minister whether the BJP will embrace Pragya Thakur or show her the exit, in case she wins the Lok Sabha election.

This was incidentally in response to the Prime Minister’s comment earlier in the day that he would personally never be able to forgive Pragya for her comments on Mahatma Gandhi. But even this once PM Modi merely passed the question to Shah saying that he is a ‘disciplined party soldier’ and for him the party president is everything. “No, no, not me. We don’t speak in front of the president,” the Prime Minister told the reporter. The question was then answered by Shah.

When a second journalist said, “My question is for the PM”, Shah started replying instantly. The question was on Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao’s meetings to evolve a federal front. PM Modi gestured towards Shah, who replied: “See, we are completely sure that we are going to win. These people don’t have any work on the campaign trail so they are meeting in drawing rooms.”

More important was the body language of the prime Minister, who looked grumpy and miffed – as if he had been denied something that was deservingly his. It did no augur too well for a party which has been shouting itself hoarse: Is Baar 300 Paar.

Twitter had a field day. Congratulations, Modi Ji. Excellent Press Conference! Showing up is half the battle. Next time, Shah may even allow you to answer a couple of questions. Well done! This was the thrust of the sentiment, aptly expressed by Rahul Gandhi.

One Twitter user remarked — tongue firmly in cheek — that she had no idea that Amit shah is the prime minister and Modi is merely the shadow. Another user had a different take: Have we got it all wrong for 5 years? Is it possible Modi is the puppet and Amit Shah the puppet master?