A major row broke out in the Parliament on Thursday as several BJP ministers including Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani protested against Congress Lok Sabha MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury over his ‘Rastrapatni’ remarks on newly-elected President Droupadi Murmu.
Irani cornered Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on the floor of Lok Sabha today, and said, “Sonia Gandhi, you sanctioned the humiliation of Droupadi Murmu. Sonia ji sanctioned humiliation of a woman in the highest constitutional post.”
No question of apologising: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Gandhi, who was also present during the proceedings, said that Chowdhury has already apologised for his remarks. However, Chowdhury said that he will not apologise over a slip of tongue. “There is no question of apologising. I had mistakenly said ‘Rashtrapatni’, now if you want to hang me for it, then you can…the ruling party in a deliberate design trying to make mountain out of a molehill,” Chowdhury told ANI.
“It was a deliberate sexist insult. Sonia Gandhi should apologise to the President of India and the country,” Sitharaman told news agency ANI.
Earlier in the day, demanding an apology for ‘demeaning’ the President, Irani said that the Congress should apologise not only to Murmu, but also to the country as the remarks were against India’s values. Speaking to reporters, Irani said, “A tribal woman from a poor family who created history is being continuously demeaned by the Congress.”
Chowdhury had allegedly made those remarks while talking to the media on the sidelines of his party’s protest against the central government. The proper usage for the word ‘President’ in Hindi is ‘Rashtrapati.’
From calling Murmu a “puppet” and a “symbol of evil,” Irani claimed that the Congress has been ‘maliciously” attacking the President ever since she was fielded as an NDA nominee for the presidential elections.
Irani claimed that Congress continued to target Murmu even after her election to the country’s top constitutional post. Calling out Chowdhury for “demeaning” a figure that represents India’s tribal legacy and is a beacon of hope to many poor as she has risen up the ranks from abject poverty, Irani slammed the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress for constantly targeting women.
Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Prahlad Joshi also hit out against Chowdhury’s remarks and demanded an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi for “appointing someone like him” as the Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha.
“This is an insult to the tribal people of the country and the President of India. He should immediately apologise. Sonia Gandhi should also apologise for appointing someone like him,” Joshi told ANI.