Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Ramayana’ remark over Renuka Chowdhary’s laughter in the Rajya Sabha has triggered a war of words between the Congress and BJP. Calling Modi’s comment “distasteful” and “sexist”, the Congress and its women’s wing, the Mahila Congress on Thursday demanded an apology from the Prime Minister.
Congress’ Anand Sharma termed Modi’s remark as “condemnable”. The prime minister, he said, “crossed the line of political discourse” with the use of his language and his “outrageous” reference. He told reporters, “A women parliamentarian laughing at his language of claims what was alluded to is shameful. We condemn it. He should apologise.”
Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev said, “I express my shock at the utterly sexist and downright distasteful comment against an honourable Member of Parliament, made by none less than the honourable Prime Minister of India.”
The BJP, meanwhile, has also responded to the incident and Chowdhury’s “badtameezi” (ill-mannered behaviour). Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said, “It is wrong to use your gender as a shield to hide your ill-mannered behaviour. Ask any woman, she would not accept it.”
During his speech in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, Chowdhary had burst into laughter, drawing disapproval from Chairman Venkaiah Naidu. She was reacting to Modi statement that the concept of Aadhaar was mooted in 1998 by the then home minister L K Advani. When Naidu asked Chowdhary to behave, Modi urged him not to restrain the Congress MP. “It is for the first time after the Ramayana serial that we are having the good fortune of hearing such laughter today,” Modi had said.
The clipping of this incident was tweeted by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju today, drawing criticism from Chowdhary, who has threatened to move a privilege motion against him. Rijiju, however, said he just wanted to show how Modi kept his cool despite the “vexatious” laugh.
“This is highly objectionable and I am going to file a privilege motion (in Rajya Sabha),” Chowdhury told reporters minutes after Rijiju posted the video.
Responding to queries by journalists about Chowdhury’s threat, Rijiju said,”I am only referring to how the prime minister didn’t get annoyed. Despite such vexatious laugh by Renuka Chaudhary, the PM didn’t get irritated.”
(with inputs from PTI)