Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday, alleging that the manner in which Union minister Smriti Irani took the name of President Droupadi Murmu in the House amounted to degrading the status of that office, and demanded that her remarks be expunged. Referring to the row over his "rashtrapatni" remark, Chowdhury said he has the highest regard for Murmu and that the controversy erupted because of a "mere slip of tongue on my part".
"This error occurred because my mother tongue is Bengali and I am not well-versed with Hindi. It is really very sad that Madam Rashtrapati Ji's name is being unnecessarily dragged in order to gain cheap publicity and political one-upmanship by the ruling party," the Congress leader said. He also appealed to Birla that since Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had nothing to do with the controversy, the entire episode mentioning her name may also be expunged from the House proceedings.
Talking to reporters during a protest at Vijay Chowk here on Wednesday, Chowdhury had used the word "rashtrapatni" for Murmu, which triggered a major political row, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raising the issue in Parliament and demanding an apology from him and the Congress president. In his letter to Birla, Chowdhury also said the manner in which Irani took Murmu’s name in the House was neither proper nor in consonance with the status and position of the president.
"She was yelling 'Droupadi Murmu' repeatedly without prefixing Hon'ble President or Madame or Smt. before the Hon'ble President's name. This clearly amounts to degrading the stature of the office of the Hon'ble President. "Therefore, I demand that the way Smt. Smriti Irani was addressing the Hon'ble President may be expunged from the proceedings of the House," he said.
Chowdhury also tendered a written apology to Murmu on Friday for his "rashtrapatni" remark.