Several Opposition leaders on Thursday accused Union minister Smriti Irani and other BJP MPs of subjecting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to “brutal heckling, verbal assault and physical intimidation” in Lok Sabha.
Tense scenes were witnessed in Lok Sabha after the House proceedings were adjourned briefly over BJP’s protests against a remark made by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury about the President of India.
In Lok Sabha, BJP women MPs were shouting “Sonia Gandhi maafi mango”. Hearing this, Congress chief went up to talk to Rama Devi, a senior BJP MP and one of the presiding officers for the Lok Sabha. Apparently, Sonia Gandhi asked why her name was being dragged into the controversy.
Sources said that Gandhi could be heard telling Rama Devi that “Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has already apologised. What is my fault?”
When Sonia Gandhi approached the saffron party MPs, the BJP women MPs who were standing around Smriti Irani started shouting slogans “Sonia Gandhi maafi mango”.
The Congress party posted a statement slamming Smriti Irani.
“Smriti Irani By behaving unparliamentarily with Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji in Parliament today, you have tarnished not only a woman but also women across the country and the dignity of the House. Stop the nonsense and answer your ‘illegal bar scam’,” Congress wrote on Twitter.
“Atrocious and insulting behaviour by Union Minister Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha today! But will she be pulled up by the Speaker? Are rules only meant for the Opposition, read a tweet by Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh.
TMC MP Mahua Moitra said the 75-year-old senior leader was “encircled and heckled pack-wolf style”.
“Was in Lok Sabha when 75 year old lady senior leader encircled & heckled pack-wolf style when all she did was walk over & speak (masked) to another senior lady panel chairperson. Disgusted to read BJP lies and false version in press,” the Trinamool Congress MP said.
“Unfortunate scenes were witnessed in lok sabha today. Was shocked to hear un necessary sloganeering against Mrs Gandhi after house was adjourned. We all should take responsibility of the house and maintain its dignity and decorum,” tweeted NCP MP Supriya Sule.
Meanwhile Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused Sonia Gandhi of speaking in a “threatening tone” with BJP members.
Sitharaman said: “Some of our Lok Sabha MPs felt threatened when Sonia Gandhi came up to our senior leader Rama Devi to find out what was happening during which, one of our members approached there & she (Sonia Gandhi) said “You don’t talk to me.”
Congress leader Karti Chidambaram called the claims made by Sitharaman “false”.