A major political row broke out on Thursday over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s ‘rashtrapatni’ remark with the BJP launching an all-out offensive against the opposition party, accusing Chowdhury of hurling a “deliberate sexist insult” at President Droupadi Murmu and demanding an apology from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Read More
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In 2004, Sonia Gandhi ensured a spectacular win for the Congress and also wove an alliance, with the party projecting her as a woman taking on the mighty men of the BJP — especially a stalwart and ace politician like Atal Bihari Vajpayee. READ MORE
It was not a slip of tongue. If you watch the clip, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury clearly (referred to President Murmu as) ‘Rashtrapati’ twice, then he corrected himself to say ‘Rashtrapatni.’ Such matters should not be taken lightly: Union Minister Kiren Rijiju
This time, it was no government policy or welfare scheme that led to a heated war of words in Parliament. The Monsoon Session was struck by thunder on Thursday when the BJP went all out against Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for referring to President Droupadi Murmu as “Rashtrapatni”. Chowdhury’s defence that his usage of the word was a mere slip of the tongue failed to cool the tempers of the BJP. Led by ministers Smriti Irani in Lok Sabha and Nirmala Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha, the party sought an apology from both Chowdhury and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Irani accused the Congress of being anti-Adivasi and anti-women for the alleged derogatory reference, and accused the party of “humiliating” the supreme commander of the armed forces. The issue soon snowballed as both sides accused each other of breaking parliamentary decorum. READ MORE
The Congress on Friday stepped up its attack against Union minister Smriti Irani for having a face-off with Sonia Gandhi earlier in the lower house over Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s “rashtrapatni” remark and demanded action against her. Congress MPs staged a protest in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament complex demanding an apology from the government for Irani’s confrontation with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday. The Congress MPs met in the Parliament and decided on their strategy at a meeting of Congress Parliamentary Party chaired by Sonia Gandhi, after which they caused disruption in both houses of Parliament with slogans against Irani and demanding her sacking as a minister. The Congress has accused Irani of heckling Sonia Gandhi inside the lower house. The party has already complained against Irani to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla with a demand that the matter be referred to the privileges committee for action against her. The Congress also took strong objection to the manner in which Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal made references to party chief Sonia Gandhi in the Rajya Sabha.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge sought to raise the issue in the house, but was not allowed to speak during the zero hour’ under Rule 258. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “Leader of the Opposition Kharge ji not allowed to raise a legitimate point of order in the Rajya Sabha because of hungama by BJP MPs and Ministers. Adjourned till 12 noon.”
Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the day on Friday amid protests by opposition and BJP members over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s remark on President Droupadi Murmu. The House proceedings were first adjourned till 12 noon soon after the House had assembled for the day. Similar scenes were witnessed when the House re-assembled at 12 noon.
Congress members were in the Well of the House raising slogans against the government, while BJP members and union ministers, including Sarbananda Sonowal were on their feet demanding an apology from Congress President Sonia Gandhi. A major political row broke out on Thursday over Chowdhury’s ‘rashtrapatni’ remark with the BJP launching an all-out offensive against the opposition party, accusing Chowdhury of hurling a “deliberate sexist insult” at President Droupadi Murmu and demanding an apology from the Congress chief.
Chowdhury, who is the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said he never intended to disrespect the President and his ‘rashtrapatni’ remark was a “slip of the tongue”. As the uproar continued, BJP member Rajendra Agarwal, who was in the chair, allowed laying of Parliamentary papers and adjourned the proceedings till Monday.
Yesterday I was not given a chance to respond to the complaints filed against me, in the parliament. I have demanded a chance to respond in the parliament, today: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress MP.
Adhir Chowdhury has apologised for his remark. Even after that BJP is demanding an apology from Sonia Gandhi, raising slogans against her. They are doing this deliberately so that they don’t have to discuss issues like price rise and inflation: Cong MP Mallikarjun Kharge
This time, it was no government policy or welfare scheme that led to a heated war of words in Parliament. The Monsoon Session was struck by thunder on Thursday when the BJP went all out against Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for referring to President Droupadi Murmu as “Rashtrapatni”. READ MORE
Braving mosquitoes and rain, suspended Rajya Sabha MPs, including CPI’s Santosh Kumar and AAP’s Sanjay Singh, spent the night near the Gandhi statue in Parliament complex as part their 50-hour protest. The entrance to the Parliament has now been chosen as the site of the Opposition protest as it is both strategic as well as practical. READ MORE
Indian Youth Congress on Thursday staged a protest outside the residence of Union minister Smriti Irani over her alleged “misbehavior” with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Parliament, a statement said. Several IYC leaders and workers holding placards took part in the protest and raised slogans, it said. “Union Minister Smriti Irani behaved indecently and abusively in Lok Sabha on Thursday. The Parliament witnessed BJP’s hooliganism and their MPs have insulted crores of women of the country along with Sonia Gandhi,” IYC president, Srinivas BV said.
He said the “indecent” behaviour by the BJP leader in the House was “condemnable”. “The minister is furious after the illegal bar scam got exposed. The dignity of Parliament has been tarnished by Smriti Irani’s unparliamentary behaviour,” he said. The Congress on Thursday accused BJP MPs of subjecting Sonia Gandhi to “brutal heckling, verbal assault and physical intimidation” in Lok Sabha. The face-off between their president and Irani in Lok Sabha chamber added to the already raging row over party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury referring to President Droupadi Murmu as ‘rashtrapatni’. The remark on India’s first tribal president drew a fresh battleline between the Congress and the BJP, which demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi.
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over India not having a specific law to tackle child trafficking, and urged political parties to ensure that a draft bill framed to combat the menace should be immediately passed in Parliament. Describing the draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 as a “strong law”, Satyarthi said it has not been tabled yet despite being enlisted in several sessions of Parliament. “Unfortunately, India has no specific law against human trafficking. This (draft) bill is one of the best laws and it is very strong. I have gone through it,” Satyarthi said. He was speaking at the South Asia Conclave on ‘Working Together to Combat Cyber Enabled Human Trafficking – Emerging Challenges’ organised by the US Consulate General Kolkata.”It (the draft bill) has been listed in almost every session in its proposed form, but never being tabled. We have been working hard and struggling since 2012 on this law, and yet it has not been passed,” he said.
Monsoon session | Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Kumar gives zero-hour notice on the issue of “surge in Indian money held in Swiss banks”.
AAP MP Sandeep Pathak on Thursday said he and his party member Sushil Gupta were suspended from Rajya Sabha for raising in the House the issue of spurious liquor sale in BJP-ruled Gujarat that led to the death of several people. The Rajya Sabha adopted a motion to suspend Aam Aadmi Party’s Pathak and Sushil Kumar Gupta besides Independent lawmaker Ajit Kumar Bhuyan for the rest of the week for “unruly behaviour” in the House. The Upper House had suspended AAP member Sanjay Singh on Wednesday for “unruly behaviour”.
“Me and Sushil Gupta have been suspended. And, our only fault was that we were raising the issue pertaining to death of people in Gujarat due to consumption spurious liquor,” Pathak said after their suspension. The BJP and its government does not care about the people of Gujarat, he charged. Forty-two people from Botad and neighbouring Ahmedabad district have died so far after consuming spurious liquor on July 25, while 97 people are still admitted to hospitals in Bhavnagar, Botad and Ahmedabad, Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi had said on Wednesday.
Those who eat together, protest together. The 50-hour-long relay protest outside Parliament by various parties against the suspension of 20 Rajya Sabha members has spiced up Opposition camaraderie with each party taking it upon itself to arrange breakfast, lunch and dinner with its own regional twist. READ MORE
Ahigh-voltage drama was on Thursday witnessed in the Lok Sabha when Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister Smriti Irani got engaged in a bitter face-off that escalated the already raging row over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury calling President Droupadi Murmu “rashtrapatni”. READ MORE
Delhi has not recorded even a single good air quality day with an AQI of 50 or less in the first six months this year, according to government data presented in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey, however, said Delhi saw a 27 per cent reduction in PM10 and a 22 per cent reduction in PM 2.5 in 2021 compared to 2016.
According to the data presented by the minister, Delhi has not recorded a single “good” air quality day in the first six months of this year. It has, however, logged seven “satisfactory” and 47 “moderate” air quality days during this period. The city saw 105 “poor”, 21 “very poor” and one severe air quality day, the data showed. Air quality index (AQI) between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’. The data also showed that Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru did not record even one bad (poor, very poor or severe) air quality day.
In his defence, Chowdhury, who is the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, said he never intended to disrespect the President and his ‘rashtrapatni’ remark was a “slip of the tongue”. Accusing the BJP of making a “mountain out of a molehill” over the issue, he said he will apologise to President Murmu but not to “these pakhandis” (hypocrites).
The Congress leader said he has sought time from the President the day after tomorrow and will apologise to her if she has been offended by his inadvertent comments. Taking on the Congress, both inside and outside Parliament, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani said Chowdhury used the term knowing well that it demeans Murmu and her office and is against India’s values. Both houses also witnessed frequent adjournments due to protests by BJP members on the issue.
“Chowdhury’s comments were not a slip of tongue. It was a deliberate sexist insult against the President,” Sitharaman said, making a brief statement in Rajya Sabha. Demanding an apology from the Congress president, the finance minister said Sonia Gandhi appointed Chowdhury as the leader in Lok Sabha to speak and he had insulted the President.
The BJP also fielded six of its tribal leaders, including three Union ministers –Kiren Rijiju, Sarbananda Sonowal and Bharati Pawar, to attack the Congress over the issue. Addressing a press conference at BJP headquarters here, the leaders said Sonia Gandhi should tender an apology to the country on behalf of her party as Chowdhury had insulted the tribal community as well as women.
Chowdhury’s clarification was even “more objectionable” as he has tried to make light of the remark, Rijiju told reporters. “What he said was not a mistake. He said it deliberately and with stress,” Rijiju said, criticising the West Bengal leader for his allegation that the BJP was making a mountain out of a molehill.
Alleging that the Congress has been targeting Murmu “maliciously” ever since the BJP-led NDA named her its presidential candidate, Irani said she was called a “puppet” and a “symbol of evil” by its leaders. “A tribal woman from a poor family who created history is being continuously demeaned by the Congress,” she told reporters.
Later, a face-off between Gandhi and Irani in the Lok Sabha chamber added to the already raging row over Chowdhury’s remark with the Congress accusing BJP MPs of subjecting the party chief to “brutal heckling, verbal assault and physical intimidation”, and demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The incident took place after Gandhi walked across to the Treasury benches and sought to know from BJP member Rama Devi why she was dragged into the issue. Irani stepped in and was seen gesturing towards Gandhi and apparently protesting Chowdhury’s remark. Gandhi at first tried to ignore Irani’s protestations, but was soon seen gesturing towards the minister and speaking angrily.
NCP member Supriya Sule and Trinamool member Aparupa Poddar were seen escorting the Congress president away from the Treasury benches as BJP members flocked around Rama Devi and Gandhi. In a tweet, Moitra said, “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.”
Earlier clarifying his remark, Chowdhury said,”yesterday, when we were holding a protest at Vijay Chowk, journalists asked where we wanted to go. I said ‘rashtrapatni’ only once by mistake. I urged the journalists not to show my video where I committed a mistake. The BJP is creating a row over it now. What should I do? I said it and realised I uttered the wrong word”.
In a video message later, he said India’s president, be it Brahmin or tribal, is respected by all. Accusing the Congress of insulting the President of India by using derogatory words, Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal alleged that the opposition party now wants to view the President’s office through the prism of caste and religion.
“Today the entire country is seriously concerned that the President has been insulted and it will not tolerate this,” he told the house amid uproar by the ruling party members. Goyal said Chowdhury repeated this insult again today by saying that the president can be a Brahmin or Adivasi. According to Chowdhury, the BJP does not have anything on the party and is finding “masala” against it.