Updated: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 12:19 PM IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday accused the Congress party of "demeaning" President Droupadi Murmu and demanded an apology from its leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for calling the 15th President of India "Rashtrapatni".
Union Minister Smriti Irani said President Murmu was targeted by Congress ever since she was nominated for the country's highest constitutional post.
“Ever since Droupadi Murmu was nominated for President post, she was targeted maliciously by Congress, and the attacks do not seem to stop against her even after being elected as President,” Smriti Irani told reporters on Thursday.
Union minister Smriti Irani said Chowdhury used the term knowing well that it demeans Murmu and her office and is against India's values.
“Chowdhury addressed President Droupadi Murmu as 'Rashtrapatni' knowing that this humiliates the dignity of that highest constitutional post. The country knows that Congress is anti-tribal, anti-Dalit and anti-women,” she alleged.
“Under Sonia Gandhi's leadership, Congressmen continue to demean the women in constitutional posts. For demeaning the first tribal President of our country, Congress needs to apologise in Parliament and on the streets of India,” she added.
On Thursday, the BJP MPs, including Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, held a protest outside the Parliament demanding an apology from Congress.
“It was a deliberate sexist insult. Sonia Gandhi should apologise to the President of India and the country,” Sitharaman said.
Meanwhile, Chowdhury dismissed any question of apologising and said that it is a deliberate ploy to “make a mountain out of a molehill”.
"There is no question of apologising. I had mistakenly said 'Rashtrapatni'... the ruling party in a deliberate design trying to make mountain out of a molehill," Chowdhury said.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi also came out in support of her party’s leader and said that Chowdhury has already apologised. "He has already apologised," she said.
Following the uproar over the issue, the Parliament was adjourned till noon.
Chowdhury is the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha and used the remark while talking to the media during his party's protests over a host of issues.
The President is called "Rashtrapati" in Hindi.
Murmu, India's first tribal President, had led a life of struggle and represents the country's aspirations from panchayat to Parliament, Irani said and charged that the Congress under its president Sonia Gandhi has repeatedly targeted women.