After initially ignoring her, Ms. Gandhi suddenly began gesturing back toward her and reacting angrily. “Don’t talk to me!” that was her reaction to Ms. Irani’s confrontation.
Ankur Chatterjee: A brief yet ugly spat transpired in Lok Sabha when BJP Leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani intruded into a conversation between Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Bihar BJP MP Rama Devi. First, the Congress supremo walked towards the BJP MP and asked why was she being unnecessarily dragged into their discontentment over INC leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s remark on President Droupadi Murmu. Then, it was Ms. Irani who came to Ms. Gandhi and interrupted their conversation. Her motive was to directly protest Mr. Chowdhury’s “rashtrapatni” remark, leading to friction between her and Ms. Gandhi.
Around afternoon when the House session was adjourned, Ms. Gandhi made the overture to Rama Devi. Ms. Irani, who also happens to be one of the most prominent leaders of the BJP raised slogans demanding an unequivocal apology from Ms. Gandhi for her the inappropriate remark made by her party leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury about President Murmu.
At first, Ms. Gandhi ignored the interjection, but suddenly she started gesturing back towards her and reacting angrily. “Don’t speak to me!” that was her reaction to Ms. Irani’s confrontation. As other BJP members slowly started gathering around Ms. Gandhi, NCP’s Supriya Sule and TMC’s Aparupa Poddar came to escort her away from the Treasury Benches.
In a later statement, Nirmala Sitharaman said Ms Gandhi “put down a BJP member” and “resorted to threats rather than apologizing”. She did not mention Ms Irani by name.
Despite this, the Congress demanded action and alleged double standards.
Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary, said, “Abhorrent and insulting behavior by Union Minister Smriti Irani today! Will she be reprimanded by the Speaker? Are rules only intended for the opposition?”
Milind Deora, former minister, said Ms Gandhi never acted rudely, even when provoked. As he tweeted, “She has been targeted repeatedly, both inside & outside Parliament, both unjustly. She has and will always endure.”
During the course of this discussion, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he would apologise to the President, but not anyone else. I am Bengali, not Hindi-speaking, so Rashtrapatni slipped out. I never intended to insult the country’s highest post, never in my wildest dreams.”
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