Parliament ruckus: Both the Houses of Parliament witnessed fiery protest by the BJP over Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's 'Rashtrapatni' remark for President Droupadi Murmu. While Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury maintained that he 'regrets' his 'slip of tongue', Union minister Smriti Irani on the partylines demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi.
The BJP accused Congress of "demeaning" President Droupadi Murmu. Smriti Irani said, "Chowdhury used the term knowing well that it demeans Murmu and her office and is against India's values. Congress should apologise to the President and the country," "A tribal woman from a poor family who created history is being continuously demeaned by Congress," she added.
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.
Irani alleged that the Congress has been targeting her "maliciously" ever since the BJP-led NDA named Murmu its presidential candidate, and said she was called a "puppet" and a "symbol of evil" by its leaders. The attacks do not seem to stop even after her election to the highest constitutional office of the country, the BJP leader said. Chowdhury's comment is also demeaning to the rich tribal legacy she represents and to the poor who rise through hard work. The President is called "rashtrapati" in Hindi. Murmu, India's first tribal President, had led a life of struggle and represents the country's aspirations from panchayat to Parliament, Irani said and charged that the Congress under its president Sonia Gandhi has repeatedly targeted women.
The BJP, however, was not ready to relent and stepped up its protest outside the Parliament.
Reacting to the protest, Adhir Chowdhury said, "There is no question of apologising. I had mistakenly said 'Rashtrapatni', now if you want to hang me for it, then you can...the ruling party in a deliberate design trying to make mountain out of a molehill."
Meanwhile, when asked by the reporters whether Adhir Ranjan would apologise over the 'Rashtrapatni' remark, Congress Sonia Gandhi cutly said, "He has already apologised.' BJP's Smriti Irani has also demanded an apology from the Congress chief over the incident.