Don’t talk to me, Sonia Gandhi told Smriti Irani in Parliament: sources

The BJP benches erupted in protests and opposition members retaliated.

New Delhi:

In a dramatic confrontation in Parliament today over Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury calling President Droupadi Murmu “Rashtrapatni”, Congress President Sonia Gandhi reportedly rebuffed Union Minister Smriti Irani after walking through the House to speak with a BJP MP .

When Smriti Irani reportedly interfered, Sonia Gandhi said, “Don’t talk to me,” according to sources.

Congress and other opposition parties accused Smriti Irani and other BJP MPs of insulting Sonia Gandhi.

The hostile exchange came after Lok Sabha adjourned amid loud protests from BJP MPs against Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. “Sonia Gandhi, excuse me,” Smriti Irani had said inside the house while members of the ruling BJP held up placards.

“Sonia Gandhi, you sanctioned the humiliation of Droupadi Murmu. Sonia ji has sanctioned the humiliation of a woman in the highest constitutional post,” the union minister said.

After the House adjourned, Sonia Gandhi was about to leave when she decided to speak to BJP MP Rama Devi instead. Two congressmen were with her.

In a stunning move, the Congress President walked the floor of the House of Representatives and reportedly said to BJP MP Rama Devi: “Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had already apologized. What is my fault?”

Sources say Smriti Irani interjected and said: ‘Madam, may I help you? I have taken your name.”

To which Sonia Gandhi replied, “Don’t talk to me.”

A congress leader said Sonia Gandhi was “having a polite conversation” with Rama Devi when Smriti Irani approached her with pointed fingers. The chairman claimed that Ms. Irani said: “How dare you not behave like this, this is not your party office…”

According to the congress leader, Sonia Gandhi said to Ms. Irani twice, “I’m not speaking to you.” The congress president was “rushed” and the situation became volatile, the chair said.

Trinamool Congressmen Mahua Moitra and Aparupa Poddar and NCP’s Supriya Sule were seen as Sonia Gandhi was dragged away by the screaming BJP members. Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi later intervened to defuse the situation.

Sonia Gandhi later reportedly said that she was only trying to speak to Rama Devi since she knew her. “I’m not afraid. I know Rama Devi so I went to tell her that Adhir apologized and why are you attacking me?”

Mahua Moitra called it an orchestrated attack on Sonia Gandhi.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticized Sonia Gandhi in her retelling of the incident: “Some of our Lok Sabha MPs felt threatened when Sonia Gandhi came to our senior leader Rama Devi to find out what had happened, meanwhile one of our members was there and approaching her (Sonia Gandhi) said, “You don’t talk to me,” and dropped our MP in the house. So instead of remorse from the supreme leader of the Congress party, we find greater aggression.”

Angry Congress leaders accused Smriti Irani of attacking their party leader.

“Union Minister Smriti Irani behaved indecently and abusively in Lok Sabha today! But will the speaker condemn that? Are rules only for the opposition,” Congress Chairman Jairam Ramesh tweeted.

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