Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Sunday wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, demanding an apology from Union minister Smriti Irani for disrespecting President Droupadi Murmu in the Lower House, NDTV reported.
Chowdhury, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said that Irani in her speech on Thursday yelled the president’s name without using the prefix “honourable president or madam or shrimati”.
“I may like to point out that the manner in which Smt Smriti Irani was taking the name of Hon’ble Madam President in the House was not proper and in consonance with the status and position of the Hon’ble President,” Chowdhury’s letter read. “She was yelling ‘Droupadi Murmu’ repeatedly without prefixing Hon’ble President or Madame or Smt. before the Hon’ble President’s name.”
This, Chowdhury said, amounts to “degrading the stature” of the president’s office.
“Therefore, I demand that Smt. Smriti Irani may tender an unconditional apology to the Hon’ble President for her disrespectful remarks and for lowering the dignity and stature of the Hon’ble President’s office,” he wrote.
Chaos ensued in the Parliament last week after Chowdhury referred to the president as “rashtrapatni” while protesting against the questioning of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case related to the National Herald newspaper.
His remark triggered a political controversy with Bharatiya Janata Party leaders seeking an apology from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday in Parliament. They described Chowdhury’s comment as misogynist and demeaning to the Adivasi community.
In the Lok Sabha, reports said that Gandhi and Irani were involved in a dramatic face-off. Irani alleged that the Congress president had “sanctioned the humiliation” of Murmu.
On Friday, Chowdhury apologised to Murmu for calling her “rashtrapatni”.
“I am writing to express my regret for having mistakenly used an incorrect word to describe the position you hold,” the Congress leader said in a letter to Murmu. “I assure you that it was a slip of the tongue. I apologise and request you to accept the same.”