Unfazed by the criticism and demands that he apologise for his remarks against Lok Sabha MP Smriti Irani, Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Ajay Rai on Tuesday struck a defiant tone even as his troubles continued to mount. Arguing that he never intended to insult anyone, the former MLA defended his statement on Monday and claimed there was nothing unparliamentary in what he said while referring to the Union minister.
“I didn’t intend to insult anyone. It’s our colloquial language which means that somebody suddenly appears and says something and then disappears. It’s not unparliamentary language. So why should I apologize?” Rai said speaking to news agency ANI.
Ajay Rai remark: Case filed, NCW issues notice
On Monday, Rai, a five-time MLA, sparked a row with his statement on Smriti Irani while mooting Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Amethi in the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
“Amethi is certainly the Gandhi family’s seat and will remain so. Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi-many members of Gandhi family have served the place. Smriti Irani only comes and does ‘latke jhatke’ and goes away. Congress workers want Rahul Gandhi to fight 2024 polls from there,” Rai said.
The remarks drew widespread condemnation and a notice from the National Commission for Women. Condemning Rai’s statement, NCW issued summons to the Congress leader over his remarks against the Union minister. In its notice, the NCW has directed Rai to appear before it at 12 noon on December 28.
On Tuesday, the Roberstganj police registered a case against Rai following a complaint by a local BJP leader Pushpa Singh. Rai has been booked under Sections 354A, 501 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code.
Smriti Irani hits back
Hitting out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his party leader’s remarks against her, Union minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani questioned if the former Congress president would stick to his decision and “not run away”.
“I have heard that you have got it announced in an indecent manner from one of your regional leaders that you will contest from Amethi in 2024. So can I take it for sure that you will contest from Amethi? Hope you will not run to a second seat? And won’t you get scared?” Irani said, taking a dig at the Congress leader who chose to contest from Wayanad and Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.