‘Flying kiss’ row: Smriti Irani accuses Rahul Gandhi of misogynistic gesture in Parliament as Oppn targets PM Moditext_fields
New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi, who returned to Parliament on Tuesday, has come under fire from Union Minister Smriti Irani for allegedly blowing a flying kiss as he exited the parliamentary session, following his speech on the No-Confidence Motion.
"Only a misogynist man can blow a flying kiss to parliament that seats women MPs," said Irani, referring to Gandhi and said that his action "lacked dignity”.
Irani later told reporters that such behaviour had never been witnessed before in Parliament.
When the House of the people - where laws are made to protect the dignity of women - during the course of a session stands witness to a man's misogyny, my question is should he be brought to task?" she asked while speaking to reporters.
BJP women MPs raised concerns with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, accusing Gandhi of insulting women through his alleged gesture.
Poonam Mahajan, a BJP MP, criticized Gandhi's action, stating that it reflected improper upbringing.
"All those sitting in the press gallery could also see what he did. His gesture was very shameful. When you are a member of parliament, you should know what kind of language to be used," she said.
However, Congress sources countered these claims, asserting that Gandhi's gesture was not directed at any particular member of the Parliament.
During the no-confidence debate in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi had strongly criticized the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their handling of issues such as violence in Manipur and clashes in Haryana's Nuh.
He accused the BJP-led government of dividing Manipur in two, labelling them as "traitors" and "anti-national."
"Manipur has been split in two. Government's politics has murdered India in the state. You are not protectors of Bharat Mata, you are her killers."
“I used the word ‘Manipur’ but the truth is that Manipur does not remain anymore. You have divided Manipur into two. You have divided and broken Manipur,” Rahul said, amid loud uproar from the treasury benches. For PM Modi, the Congress leader said, “Manipur is not India”.
"To listen to the nation's voice, we will have to give up on arrogance and hatred," he added.
In response to Gandhi's accusations, Smriti Irani rebuked him for accusing the government of "killing Bharat Mata (India)" in Manipur. She called his statement unprecedented and criticized Congress leaders for supporting such remarks.
"You are not India because you define corruption in India, you define incompetence," the BJP MP said.
"You are not India because you define corruption and dynastic politics, retorts. India believes in merit not in dynasty and today of all the days people like you need to remember what was told to the British - Quit India. Corruption Quit India, Dynasty Quit India. Merit now finds place in India," ANI quoted the BJP leader as saying.
The confrontation between Irani and Gandhi is seen as an attempt to shift attention away from the ongoing no-confidence motions debate, initiated by Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi. The motion was brought forward to address concerns about the Prime Minister's response to the Manipur situation.
The parliamentary session, which began on July 20, has been repeatedly disrupted by opposition protests. The opposition argues that the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur demands urgent attention from the Prime Minister.
Home Minister Amit Shah had criticized the Opposition for avoiding a debate on Manipur, emphasizing the need to focus on the situation rather than engaging in a display of strength through voting.
The no-confidence motion, initiated by Congress on behalf of the opposition coalition INDIA, is set to conclude with the Prime Minister's response on Thursday.