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‘Rashtrapatni’ Row: Sonia Gandhi-Smriti Irani Faceoff In Parliament; BJP, Congress Spar

A row has erupted after Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury addressed President Droupadi Murmu as "Rashtrapatni".

Updated: July 28, 2022 4:26 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Snigdha Choudhury

sonia gandhi, congress, BJP, rashtrapatni row, smriti irani, adhir ranjan chowdhury, congress leaders
There were reports that a hostile exchange took place between Sonia Gandhi and Union minister Smriti Irani at the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

New Delhi: A row erupted after Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury addressed President Droupadi Murmu as “Rashtrapatni” while BJP demanded apology from party president Sonia Gandhi. Both – Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha – were adjourned amid uproar by the BJP leaders over Chowdhury’s “Rashtrapatni” remark. There were also reports of a hostile exchange taking place between Sonia Gandhi and Union minister Smriti Irani at the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had made the remark while speaking to media during his party’s protest against the BJP-led government over several issues.

‘Rashtrapatni’ row – Top developments

  • Union minister Smriti Irani slammed Sonia Gandhi and demanded an apology from the Congress president for her party colleague’s remark. “Sonia Gandhi sanctioned the humiliation of a woman at the highest constitutional office in the country,” Irani said in Parliament.
  • In another protest led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman against Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, she was seen standing with her fellow BJP MPs with placards. Sitharaman called it a “deliberate sexist abuse” and demanded apology from Sonia Gandhi. “I demand an apology from the President of Congress party who herself is a woman has allowed her leader to speak like that. Sonia Gandhi should come before the nation and apologise for insulting the President,” Sitharaman said.
  • Adhir Ranjan was quick to respond to the BJP’s attack and clarified that it was merely “a slip of tongue” and BJP was making a huge issue out of it. In a video shared on Twitter, Adhir Ranjan said,”Whoever is the President of India, be it Brahmin, or Adivasi, the President is the President for us. Our respect is for the post. Yesterday, when we were protesting at Vijay Chowk, reporters asked us where we wanted to go. I told them I want to visit the President’s house. Just once, I said “Rashtrapatni”…There have been many discussions on this and the reporter repeated it to me. It was just one time I said and I might have said that by mistake and it would be better if they didn’t broadcast it. They (BJP) are creating a furor because of this. I made a mistake, just once and in one word.”

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      • There were reports that Sonia Gandhi rebuffed Smriti Irani while the latter tried to cut in a conversation between the Congress president and BJP MP Rama Devi. Sonia Gandhi said, “Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has already apologised.”

    •  Describing the exchange while taking a dig at Sonia Gandhi, Sitharaman said, “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 our MP down in the house. So instead of remorse from the highest leader of the Congress party, we find greater aggression.”
    • TMC MP Mahua Moitra, in a tweet, alleged BJP leaders heckled Sonia Gandhi. “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. Disgusted to read BJP lies & false version in press,” Moitra tweeted.
  • The Monsoon Session of Parliament commenced on July 18 and will continue till August 12. There will be 18 sittings during the Session. 

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