Ms Sitharaman called it a “deliberate sexist abuse” and demanded that the Congress President apologise on behalf of the party.
New Delhi: Accusing the Congress of “demeaning” President Droupadi Murmu, the BJP today demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi after her party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called Ms Murmu “Rashtrapatni”.
Here’s your 10-point guide to this big story:
- Ms Irani launched a scathing attack on Sonia Gandhi, demanding an apology from her. “Sonia Gandhi sanctioned the humiliation of a woman at the highest constitutional office in the country,” she said. An irate Ms Irani also called Mrs Gandhi “anti-Adivasi, anti-Dalit, and anti-woman”.
- Another protest led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who has just recovered from Covid, saw her standing with fellow MPs with placards on the Parliament premises protesting the remark. Inside the lower house, Ms Sitharaman called it a “deliberate sexist abuse” and demanded that the Congress President apologise on behalf of the party.
- “I demand an apology from the President of Congress party who herself is a woman has allowed her leader to speak like that. Sonia Gandhi should come before the nation and apologise for insulting the President,” the finance minister said in the Lok Sabha.
- Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury swiftly clarified saying it was a mere slip of the tongue and the BJP is “making a mountain out of a molehill”. He accused the BJP of distracting from crucial discussions on price rise, GST, the Agnipath scheme, unemployment, and other issues.
- “Whoever is the President of India, be it Brahmin, or Adivasi, the President is the President for us. Our respect is for the post. Yesterday when we were at protesting at Vijay Chowk, reporters asked us where we wanted to go. I told them I want to visit the President’s house. Just one, I said “Rashtrapatni”…The reporter repeated it to me and I said I might have said that by mistake and it would be better if they didn’t broadcast it. They (BJP) are creating a furore because of this. I made a mistake, just once and in one word,” Me Chowdhury said in a video statement posted on his Twitter account.
- Speaking to NDTV, Sonia Gandhi said Mr Chowdhury has already apologised.
- Mr Chowdhury is the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha and used the remark while talking to the media during his party’s protests over a host of issues.
- Ms Irani alleged that the Congress has been targeting Ms Murmu “maliciously” ever since the BJP-led NDA named her its presidential candidate, and said she was called a “puppet” and a “symbol of evil” by its leaders.
- “The Congressman knew that to address the President of India in this way not only demeans her constitutional post but also the rich tribal legacy that she represents,” Smriti Irani said.
- The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 4 pm amid noisy protest by the BJP.