How Narendra Modi’s Ramayana jibe on Renuka Chowdhury triggered Mahabharat in Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi | Updated: February 8, 2018 12:46:41 PM

Protest over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ramayana jibe against Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday continued today. The Upper House was adjourned on Thursday till 12 pm.

narendra modi renuka chowdhury ptiPM Narendra Modi and Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury. (PTI)

Protest over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ramayana jibe against Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday continued today. The Upper House was adjourned on Thursday till 12 pm after the Congress leaders protested over PM Modi’s remarks on Chowdhury. While replying to the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the Rajya Sabha, Modi had said the concept of Aadhaar was mooted in 1998 by LK Advani, the then Union Home Minister. Advani had talked about a multi-purpose national identity card.

Modi’s comment questioned the Congress bid to appropriate all the credit for Aadhaar to itself. However, as soon as Modi spoke on the issue, Chowdhury burst into a guffaw. Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu immediately disapproved Chowdhury’s conduct. “If you have some problem, go to a doctor, please,” Naidu told the Congress leader. The matter didn’t end there.

Modi took the opportunity to throw a jibe at the Congress MP. He requested Naidu not to restrain the Congress MP, saying: “Sabhapati ji meri aapse vinti hai Renuka ji ko kuch mat kahiye. Ramayan serial ke baad aisi hansi sunne ka saubhagya aaj jaake mila hai (I request you not to say anything to Renuka ji. After the Ramayan serial, we got the privilege of hearing this kind of laughter only today.)”

Modi didn’t elaborate much but his comment was seen as a reference to a negative female character in the Ramayana.

Chowdhury too objected to Modi’s comment but it was not mentioned in the official record. Union minister Smriti Irani tried to counter Chowdhury but the former was not heard amid the din.

The row over Modi’s jibe continued outside the Parliament. Talking to ANI, Chowdhury said, “PM made a personal remark, what else do you expect from him? I can’t fall to that level to reply to him. This is actually called denigrating the status of a woman.”

However, Irani told reporters, “I was present there. I heard the kind of indecent remarks she was making on PM Modi. Is it justified that she makes indecent remarks & when those remarks are met sarcastically she makes her gender her shield?.”

The Congress party today tweeted: “We condemn PM Modi’s derogatory remark in Parliament against former Union minister and RS MP Renuka Chowdhury. We also urge the RS Speaker Shri Venkaiah Naidu to not act in a partisan manner and accord due respect to a fellow member of the house.”

On Thursday, as soon as the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha started after mourning the death of former member Frida Topno and the laying listed papers on the table, Congress MPs created an uproar over Modi’s remarks against Chowdhury.

Naidu chided Congress leaders and asked to resume their places. “I have no option other than to adjourn the House,” he said while suspending the proceedings till 1200 hrs.

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