Video Producer/Editor: Shohini Bose
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday, 28 July, mounted a fierce attack on the Congress, demanding an apology after its Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called President Droupadi Murmu "rashtrapatni."
In a shouting match in the Lok Sabha on Thursday morning, Union Minister Smriti Irani demanded an apology from interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for Chowdhury's remarks.
Several other BJP leaders, including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, among others have joined the chorus against the Congress chief.
After the ruckus, Nirmala Sitharaman claimed that Sonia Gandhi came up to BJP MPs to find out what was happening, which threatened the members. She added that when one of the BJP members approached Gandhi, she said "You don't talk to me".
Here are the top developments of the day:
While speaking to reporters on Wednesday during Congress’ protest against the questioning of Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate, Adhir Ranjan said, “India’s rashtrapati, no..rashtrapatni is for everyone, why is she not a president for us?”
On Thursday, with the return of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to the Rajya Sabha, BJP MPs created a ruckus in both the Houses and demanded an apology from Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi for Chowdhury's remark. Later, several BJP MPs continued the protest outside the Parliament. They held placards and raised slogans, while demanding an apology.
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, AR Chowdhury, stated that the 'rashtrapatni' remark was a "slip of the tongue" and that the BJP was "making a mountain out of a molehill." Meanwhile, an FIR was filed in Madhya Pradesh's Dindori against him for his controversial remark.
Taking the attack up a notch and targetting Gandhi, Smriti Irani said in the Upper House, "The Congress is not able to digest that a tribal daughter of a poor home has become president. Sonia Gandhi, you sanctioned the humiliation of Droupadi Murmu."
As the BJP MPs erupted, demanding an apology, both the Houses were adjourned. Following which, Sonia Gandhi told reporters outside the Parliament, "He (Chowdhury) has already apologised."
After the ruckus, Nirmala Sitharaman claimed that Sonia Gandhi came up to BJP MPs to find out what was happening, which threatened the members. She added that when one of the BJP members approached Gandhi, she said "You don't talk to me."
Chowdhury requested the Speaker of the House to give him a chance to address the Floor. However, the Lok Sabha was adjourned within seconds of resuming.
Meanwhile, Sitharaman claimed that Chowdhury's remark was "a deliberate sexist insult. Sonia Gandhi should apologise to the president of India and the country."
Further, Piyush Goyal stated that the entire country is upset over the Congress's insult of the president. He said, "This country will never tolerate this insult to our tribal people."
Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary in-charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh, condemned the comments made by Smriti Irani in the Parliament. "Atrocious and outrageous behaviour by Union Minister Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha today! But will she be pulled up by the Speaker? Are rules only meant for the Opposition?" he tweeted.
After the mayhem of the day, Ranjan spoke to reporters and said that he has sought time from the President and will apologise to her if she has been offended by his inadvertent comments. "I have sought time from the President and will apologise to her, but not to these 'pakhandis'," he added.
Congress MPs met with the Lok Sabha Speaker, to complain about the confrontation between the BJP MPs and ministers and Sonia Gandhi. They reportedly asked the Speaker to facilitate a video inspection of the incident and urged him to send the matter to privilege committee.
National Commission for Women (NCW), meanwhile, has sent a notice to Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, asking him to appear before it in person and tender a written explanation for his remarks, reported ANI. The hearing in the matter will be held on 3 August at 11.30 am.
NCW has also written to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and asked her to intervene in the matter and take appropriate action against Chowdhury.
(With inputs from ANI.)