What Led To Spat Between Sonia Gandhi and Smriti Irani in Parliament
The House was adjourned on Thursday after a ruckus over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's remarks on President Murmu.
Amid uproar over Leader of Opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's 'Rashtrapatni' remark on President Droupadi Murmu, a war of words broke out between Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister Smriti Irani in Lok Sabha on Thursday. Irani trained guns at the Congress and accused the party president of 'sanctioning the humiliation' of President Murmu.
The house was adjourned after the commotion over Chowdhury's remark about the President on a Television interview. Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have rejected the allegations made by Irani after the House proceedings were resumed and Sonia walked up to BJP's Rama Devi to speak to her. At this point, Irani reportedly asked, "May I help you?". "Don't talk to me," Sonia reportedly said in response.
What did Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury say?
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in a television interview referred to President Droupadi Murmu as 'Rashtrapatni". However, in his defence, Chowdhury said it was a mistake since he is not well-versed in Hindi.
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"Rashtrapatni slipped out, that was my mistake. I am Bengali, not a Hindi-speaking person, so it slipped out. I never intended any insult to the country's highest post, not in my wildest dreams can I think of doing so," Adhir Chowdhury was quoted as saying by the NDTV. He also said he had asked media to not use that portion of the interview, it was played out. He accused the BJP of making "a mountain out of molehil". "The BJP has nothing to say against us, so they find some masala. They are blowing up the issue out of proportion," he was quoted as saying.
How did BJP react?
Soon after House proceedings began on Thursday, Union Minister Irani took on the Congress and sought an apology from the party over its leader's comments. Slogans of 'Sonia Gandhi maafi maango (Sonia Gandhi, apologise)" were raised in the House.
Irani accused the Congress of being 'anti-tribals', 'anti-women' and 'anti-poor' over Chowdhury's 'Rashtrapatni' remark.
Spat between Congress and BJP
Irani led the attack against Congress in the House, while Congress leaders accused the BJP of heckling party leader Sonia Gandhi. She, accompanied by two other Congress MPs, later went to speak to BJP's Rama Devi. That is when Irani interrupted her and asked "May I help you?", prompting Sonia to rebuff her and say "Don't talk to me".
According to reports, the Congress president went to BJP's Rama Devi and said, "Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had already apologised. What is my fault?"
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that party leaders had felt threatened when Congress chief crossed the floor to speak to one of the BJP Ps. "Some of our Lok Sabha MPs felt threatened when Sonia Gandhi came up to our senior leader Rama Devi to find out what was happening during which, one of our members approached there and she (Sonia Gandhi) said "You don't talk to me"," she was quoted as saying by ANI.
However, the Opposition accused the BJP of heckling Sonia. TMC MP Mahua Moitra said the senior leader was heckled 'pack wolf-style' when she had simply gone to speak to another leader in the House. "Was in Lok Sabha when 75 year old lady senior leader encircled & heckled pack-wolf style when all she did was walk over & speak (masked) to another senior lady panel chairperson," she said in a tweet.
Congress's Jairam Ramesh also took to Twitter and said that the union minister spoke 'indecently' with the party chief and asked if any action would be taken against her.
Also Read: The Controversy Over A Goa Bar That Smriti Irani Says Daughter Doesn't Run
Irani is already in a tiff with the Congress after the party accused her daughter of owning a restaurant in Goa that used an 'illegal' liquor license. The Opposition alleged that the restaurant, Silly Souls had renewed its liquor licence by providing documents of a deceased person – Anthony Dgama. Several Congress workers have shared videos of food critic Kunal Vijayakar's show Khane Mein Kya Hai, in which he went to the same restaurant to try out the menu.
However, Smriti Irani has defended her daughter saying that "my 18-year-old daughter is studying…my 18-year-old daughter does not run an illegal bar."
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