Sonia-Smriti tiff: Congress, BJP lock horns; Parliament work hit
Despite Chowdhury's clarification that he never intended to disrespect the President and his 'rashtrapatni' remark was a "slip of the tongue", the BJP has demanded an apology from the Congress president and action against the leader.
The face-off between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union minister Smriti Irani in Lok Sabha continued to echo in Parliament on Friday, with the BJP insisting that Gandhi should apologise for party MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's remark against the President and the Congress complaining that BJP MPs subjected its president to "brutal heckling in the lower House.
Congress MPs staged a protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament on Friday to demand an apology from the government following the face-off over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury calling President Droupadi Murmu 'rashtrapatni' blew up.
While accusing the BJP MPs of subjecting Gandhi to "brutal heckling, verbal assault and physical intimidation" in Lok Sabha, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MP joined the Congress parliamentarians in the protest.
Accusing Smriti of heckling Sonia inside the lower house, the party has already complained to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, demanding that the matter be referred to the privileges committee for action against her.
The Congress also cried foul over the manner in which Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal made references to the party chief in the Rajya Sabha.
Despite Chowdhury's clarification that he never intended to disrespect the President and his 'rashtrapatni' remark was a "slip of the tongue", the BJP has been demanding an apology from the Congress president and action against the leader.
To recall Thursday's incident, Smriti had lashed out at the Congress chief in the Lok Sabha, accusing her of 'sanctioning' the humiliation of President Droupadi Murmu. "You sanctioned the tribal legacy's humiliation. Sonia sanctioned the humiliation of a woman in the highest constitutional post. Sonia sanctioned the humiliation of a poor woman who has ascended to the highest office in this country," she said.
Following the uproar over her remarks, the House was adjourned till noon. Gandhi then walked across to the treasury benches and sought to know from BJP member Rama Devi why she was being dragged into the issue, following which Irani intervened and was seen gesturing towards Gandhi and apparently protesting Chowdhury's remark. Gandhi, though initially ignoring Irani's protests, was later seen gesturing toward the minister and speaking angrily.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said Sonia must apologise for the Lok Sabha function. In a series of tweets, Dubey said, "The BJP wouldn't tolerate the insult of the tribal community. Lok Sabha will only function after the apology of Mrs Gandhi".
Dubey also charged that Congress has a history of misusing democracy and Parliament. In 2012, then BJP president Rajnath Singh was given 10 notices by the Congress for just speaking about the family's (Gandhi family) trust, he added.