Odisha Assembly on Thursday went into an uproar after BJP MLAs stormed into the middle of the house and created ruckus over ‘Rashtrapatni’ remark on newly elected President Draupadi Murmu. A full scale controversy erupted after BJP MPs demanded an apology from Gandhi on the alleged derogatory remarks made by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress floor leader in Lok Sabha, on President Draupadi Murmu.
During the Question Hour, the members of the Assembly staged protest with placards inside the house. As the uproar continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till 4 pm. Accusing the Congress of demeaning the President, the BJP demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi from Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile in the Parliament, the members demanded the suspension of the Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Demanding the apology, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Rajya Sabha: "Objectionable statement was made by the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha who referred to 'Rashtrapati' as 'Rashtrapatni'.
It is a common understanding that 'Rashtrapati' is gender neutral representing 'leader of the country' and therefore, I think it not a slip of tongue but a deliberate sexist insult to President."
Citing Murmu's struggles, Sitharaman said that the President is a self made person coming from tribal community, who served successfully as an MLA, Minister and Governor.
"At a time when the entire country is rejoicing her election to the ighest constitutional post of the country, the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha called her 'Rashtrapatni', an insult to the President of India," she said.
On the other hand, Union Minister Smriti Irani lashed out at the Congress with strongest manner possible and said that Chowdhary knowingly used the term as it demeans President Murmu and her office and is against India's values.
Addressing mediapersons at her official residence here, Irani demanded an apology from Congress to the President and country. "A tribal woman from a poor family who created history is being continuously demeaned by the Congress," Irani said.
Irani alleged that the Congress has been maliciously targeting President Murmu ever since the BJP-led NDA named her its Presidential candidate.
"She was called a 'puppet' and a 'symbol of evil' by Congress leaders. The attacks do not seem to stop even after her election to the highest constitutional office of the country. Chowdhury's comment is also demeaning to the rich tribal legacy she represents and to the poor who rise through hard work."
"Murmu, country's first tribal President, had led a life of struggle and represented the country's aspirations from panchayat to Parliament," Irani added.
Similarly, Aparajita Sarangi condemned the remarks and said, “It is very sad. She is the President of India and the pride of Odisha. We condemn such remarks and demand an apology.”
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi said that "Choudhury has already apologised" and called for an all-party meeting.
Meanwhile, National Vice President BJP, Baijayant Jay Panda also took to Twitter and wrote, "Ever since Droupadi Murmu ji has been nominated for the President by the NDA, she has been targeted and called names by Congress party. This exposes their anti-tribal and anti-backward classes mindset. Now calling her 'Rashtrapatni' is crossing all limits and is highly condemnable.
Ever since Droupadi Murmu ji has been nominated for President by the NDA, she has been targeted and called names by Congress party. This exposes their anti-tribal and anti-backward classes mindset. Now calling her 'Rashtrapatni' is crossing all limits and is highly condemnable. https://t.co/3h4wp8GnIx— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) July 28, 2022
"Our demand is that Sonia Gandhi should apologise. The Congress should apologise and take immediate action against Adhir Ranjan. He should be immediately sacked," said Mohan Majhi, BJP Chief Whip
Similarly, Rajan Ekka, Congress MLA said, "We live in a democracy. President is the most respectable person in the country. No matter who says it, it is highly condemnable. He should apologise."
"He is the leader of Congress. Such remarks from such a respectable person is condemnable. Disrespecting the President is like disrespecting the country. So, he should apologise," Rajkishore Das, BJD MLA