Will apologise to Prez, says Adhir as NCW issues summons

Union Minister Smriti Irani speaks in the Lok Sabha during ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Thursday, July 28, 2022. PHOTO: SANSAD TV/PTI

New Delhi: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, in the soup for the 'rashtrapatni' remark which he claimed was a "slip of tongue", on Thursday said he will apologise to President Droupadi Murmu but not to "these pakhandis" (hypocrites).

He also accused the BJP of making a "mountain out of a molehill" over the issue.

Chowdhury said the term was used only once by mistake and he never intended any disrespect to the President even as the BJP stalled both Houses of Parliament and asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to apologise to the nation.

"I inadvertently used the word 'rashtrapatni' just once and it was a slip of the tongue. I never meant any disrespect to the President," he told reporters outside Parliament.

"What should I do? I said it and realised I uttered a wrong word. I even looked for mediapersons to request them to not focus on it. However, I couldn't find them," Chowdhury said, a day after making the remark.

He later said, "I am a Bengali and not used to Hindi. I made a mistake, I agree."

The Congress leader said he has sought time from the President the day after tomorrow and will apologise to her if she has been offended by his inadvertent comments.

"I have sought time from the President and will apologise to her, but not to these 'pakhandis',"  the Congress leader said, referring to the BJP.

Chowdhury's remarks came after he held a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in her office in Parliament over the issue.

Some ruling party members are "deliberately trying to make a mountain out of a molehill", Chowdhury alleged.

In a video message later, he said India's president, be it Brahmin or tribal, is respected by all.

"Yesterday, when we were holding a protest at Vijay Chowk, journalists asked where we wanted to go. I said 'rashtrapatni' only once by mistake. I urged the journalists not to show my video where I committed a mistake. The BJP is creating a row over it now," he said.

According to Chowdhury, the BJP does not have anything on the Congress and is finding "masala" against it.

"The issue is being blown out of proportion... I do not have the remotest intention of humiliating the highest chair of our country," Chowdhury said.

NCW slams Adhir Ranjan's 'rashtrapatni' comment

New Delhi: The National Commission for Women and 12 state commissions for women on Thursday criticised Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for calling President Droupadi Murmu 'rashtrapatni' and said the remark is deeply insulting and sexist.

The reference India's first tribal president as 'rashtrapatni' has drawn a fresh battleline between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress. The BJP has demanded an apology from Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

"National Commission for Women and all the State Commissions for women who were present in quarterly meeting at Visakhapatnam condemned the derogatory and sexist remark made by @adhirrcinc  against  President of India. @ncwIndia is sending him summons," NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said on Twitter.

The 12 state commissions include those from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, UP and Tripura, she said.

Sharma tagged a joint statement along with her post. "The National Commission for Women and all the State Commissions for women strongly condemn  Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's (MP) words where he has called the Hon'ble President of India 'rashtrapatni'".

"His words are deeply insulting, sexist and constitute an attempt to humiliate the Hon'ble President. We call upon right-thinking persons to condemn his words in the strongest possible language," the statement said.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS)

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