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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

I respect you, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tells Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha. Then a jab

Chowdhury, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said Sitharaman is a minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic alliance (NDA) government at the Centre but she still can’t speak her mind.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2019 17:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan times, New Delhi
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi(PTI)
         

Congress lawmaker Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday blamed the government for the economic slowdown in the country and called finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman “weak”.

Chowdhury, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said Sitharaman is a minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic alliance (NDA) government at the Centre but she still can’t speak her mind.

“I respect you but sometimes I think should call you Nirbala [weak] Sitharaman instead of Nirmala Sitharaman,” he said.

The comments came during a debate in Lok Sabha when the finance minister was moving the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 for consideration and passage.

Chowdhury’s latest remarks are likely to further anger the BJP. Members of the ruling party protested in the Lok Sabha on Monday against the Congress leader for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah “infiltrators”.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said Chowdhury’s comments were an “insult” to people who gave Modi a massive mandate in the parliamentary polls held in April-May this year.

Joshi said under the leadership of Modi and Shah India’s prestige has enhanced in the world and such insults won’t be tolerated. He then took a swipe at the Congress over party president Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin.

“The president of Congress is an infiltrator. If the Congress has any sense, he [Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury] should apologise. Otherwise, I will demand that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi apologise on his behalf,” Joshi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Joshi’s criticism of Sonia Gandhi drew a sharp reaction from Chowdhury. “He [Pralhad Joshi] is calling our leader Sonia Gandhi an infiltrator. If our leader is an infiltrator, so is yours,” he said.

Earlier, Chowdhury sought to explain his remarks on Modi and Shah and said he will apologise if BJP is not satisfied with his response, news agency PTI reported.

BJP members though continued to protest forcing Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla to adjourn the House.

Chowdhury had made the controversial comments while speaking on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that seeks to identify illegal immigrants. He had accused the BJP of trying to create fear with the promise of NRC across India.

Last month, Shah had said in Parliament that NRC will be implemented across the country and assured that there was no reason for people from any religion to be afraid of it.

The NRC exercise was carried out in Assam earlier this year. In the final list published on August 31, over 1.9 million people were left out of the citizenship register.