New Delhi [India], July 29 (ANI): Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s “rashtrapatni” remarks about President Droupadi Murmu led to a political storm on Thursday with Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha facing disruptions.
In the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Smriti Irani hit out at Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for referring to President Murmu as “rashtrapatni” and sought an apology.
She also attacked Sonia Gandhi over Chowdhury’s remarks alleging that the Congress leader “sanctioned the humiliation” of President Murmu.
In Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi. Three more opposition members were suspended from Rajya Sabha on Thursday for “unruly behaviour”.
Smriti Irani alleged that Congress workers and leaders “continue to demean the Office of the President of India”
“Sonia Gandhi, you sanctioned the humiliation of Droupadi Murmu. Sonia ji sanctioned the humiliation of a woman in the highest constitutional post. Sonia ji sanctioned the humiliation of a poor woman who ascends to the highest Office in this country. You sanctioned the insult of every Indian citizen. You through your male Congress workers and leaders continue to demean the Office of the President of India. Apologies to the nation. Sonia Gandhi apologise to the tribal, poor and woman of the country,” she said.
The House was adjourned till 12 noon amid the din. There was an apparent face-off between Sonia Gandhi and Smriti Irani after the Congress leader approached BJP leader Rama Devi after the adjournment. Sources said Smriti Irani intervened during their conversation and Sonia Gandhi then turned around and told Irani “not to talk to her”.
BJP women MPs have filed a complaint with the Lok Sabha Speaker against Sonia Gandhi.
Nirmala Sitharaman later told ANI that some BJP MPs in Lok Sabha “felt threatened when Sonia Gandhi came up to our senior leader Rama Devi to find out what was happening during which, one of our members approached there and she (Sonia Gandhi) said you don’t talk to me, putting the member down in the House”.
“So instead of remorse, from the highest leader of the Congress party, we find greater and greater aggression,” Sitharaman said.
The union minister said that “in every way, Congress party has been attempting to undermine a tribal. self-made, successful leader. We, from the BJP demand, the Congress party apologise to the nation”.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary told the media that he had mistakenly used the term “rashtrapatni” and alleged that the ruling party was deliberately trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.
“I can’t even think of insulting the President. It was just a mistake. If the President felt bad, I will personally meet her and apologise. They can hang me if they want. I am ready to get punished but why is she (Sonia Gandhi) being dragged in this?” he asked. Sonia Gandhi said the party’s Behrampore MP had already apologised.
Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said that Sonia Gandhi was subjected to “shameful behaviour” by the BJP MPs.
“Today we saw a very shameful behaviour towards our leader Sonia Gandhi inside Lok Sabha. Objectionable slogans were raised against her. But being a fearless leader, Sonia Gandhi went to the women MPs, but BJP MPs behaved in a very ill-mannered way,” he said.
“The party which raises slogans in the name of women, today they have shown how they have humiliated another woman (Sonia Gandhi). Our leader was humble and polite. If BJP thinks such small behaviour is going to affect her, it is their mistake,” he added.
Sonia Gandhi also found support from some other opposition members.
NCP leader Supriya Sule said there was unnecessary sloganeering against Sonia Gandhi after the house was adjourned.
“Unfortunate scenes were witnessed in Lok Sabha today. Was shocked to hear un necessary sloganeering against Mrs Gandhi after house was adjourned. We all should take responsibility of the house and maintain its dignity and decorum,” Supriya Sule said in a tweet.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra accused the BJP of speaking lies and alleged that Sonia Gandhi was “encircled and heckled pack-wolf style when all she did was walk over”.
“Was in Lok Sabha when 75 year old lady senior leader encircled & heckled pack-wolf style when all she did was walk over & speak (masked) to another senior lady panel chairperson. Disgusted to read BJP lies and false version in press,” she said in a tweet.
Moitra also slammed Sitharaman for talking about opposition demands related to price rise and on withdrawing GST hike on some items of daily use.
“Pity that Hon’ble FM ignored Price Rise & GST on first day back in Parliament & instead concentrated on orchestrated mayhem. Madam – the only one feeling threatened in Parliament nowadays is democracy,” she said.
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said if Chowdhury has made the remarks relating to the President, he should apologise.
“I’ve not heard it but such a statement is wrong. President is first citizen of the country and should be respected. If he (AR Chowdhury) said anything like that, he should apologise as the dignity of the President’s post shouldn’t be hurt,” Patole said.
Congress MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has already apologised for his remark.
“The government does not have anything to say in the Parliament, hence they are making an issue of his statement. He (Adhir) did not even get a chance to speak in the Parliament,” Aujla said.
BJP MPs including Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday staged a protest at Parliament against Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s ‘rashtrapatni’ remark against President Droupadi Murmu and demanded an apology from the Congress.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal alleged that Chowdhury had deliberately called President Droupdai Murmu ‘rashtrapatni’ and repeated it twice.
Government sources said an apology has to come from Congress President Sonia Gandhi and there’s “no question of anything else”.
Three more opposition MPs – AAP MP Sushil Kumar Gupta and Sandeep Kumar Pathak and independent MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan – were suspended from Rajya Sabha for the remainder of the week for “unruly behaviour”. Twenty-three opposition MPs have been suspended from the Rajya Sabha since Tuesday for the remainder of the week.
Four Lok Sabha MPs were earlier suspended for “unruly behaviour” for the rest of the monsoon session. The suspended MPs are continuing their 50-hour-long protest in the Parliament complex. The opposition parties also continued to press their demand on the issue of price rise. (ANI)