NEW DELHI: There was an apparent face-off between Union Minister Smriti Irani and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday in Lok Sabha over Congress MP and leader of opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's comments on President Droupadi Murmu. BJP MPs had raised slogans and demanded Sonia Gandhi apologize for Chowdhury's 'Rashtrapatni' remark for President Murmu.
BJP women MPs have filed a complaint with the Lok Sabha Speaker against Sonia Gandhi who allegedly shouted at Smrti Irani after the Union minister reportedly intervened as the Congress interim president was speaking to BJP MP Rama Devi.
The incident took place after the lower house was adjourned amid intense sloganeering by BJP against Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told ANI, "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, putting the member down in the House".
"So instead of remorse, from the highest leader of the Congress party, we find greater and greater aggression," Sitharaman said. The union minister said that "In every way, Congress party has been attempting to undermine a tribal. self-made, successful leader. We, from the BJP demand, the Congress party apologise to the nation".
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary today said that he had mistakenly used the term "Rashtrapatni" and alleged that the ruling party was deliberately trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. "I can't even think of insulting the President. It was just a mistake. If the President felt bad, I will personally meet her and apologise. They can hang me if they want. I am ready to get punished but why is she (Sonia Gandhi) being dragged in this?," Chowdhary said.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi said that the Behrampore MP had already apologised. To this Sitharamann said: "She is misleading the country. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has been claiming that there is no need to apologise."
Meanwhile, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said that Sonia Gandhi was subjected to "shameful behaviour" by the BJP MPs. "Today we saw a very shameful behaviour towards our leader Sonia Gandhi inside Lok Sabha. Objectionable slogans were raised against her. But being a fearless leader, Sonia Gandhi went to the women MPs, but BJP MPs behaved in a very ill-mannered way," Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said.
"The party which raises slogans in the name of women, today they have shown how they have humiliated another woman (Sonia Gandhi). Our leader was humble and polite. If BJP thinks such small behaviour is going to affect her, it is their mistake," Gogoi said.
Notably, both the Houses have been facing adjournments on various issues due to the Opposition ruckus since the Parliament's Monsoon Session started. The Monsoon Session of Parliament commenced on July 18 and will continue till August 12. There will be 18 sittings during the Session.