NEW DELHI — A heated exchange unfolded today within the Indian Parliament as Union Minister Smriti Irani leveled accusations against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, alleging that he blew a derisive flying kiss while departing after his speech on the No-Confidence Motion.
“Only a man with a misogynistic mindset would resort to blowing a flying kiss within a parliamentary chamber that houses numerous women MPs,” Irani asserted, her words directed at Rahul Gandhi, who recently returned to parliamentary proceedings.
Labeling Mr. Gandhi’s gesture as “devoid of dignity,” Irani’s remarks resonated with her party’s stance against perceived disrespectful conduct.
Speaking with reporters later, Irani contended that such a display of “misogyny” had never been witnessed in the annals of parliamentary history. “Never before has such blatant misogyny been on display within the hallowed halls where laws are forged to safeguard women’s dignity. When our revered House, the embodiment of the people’s will, becomes a canvas for a man’s misogyny, the question arises: should there be consequences?” she posed.
Accusations have been further formalized through BJP women MPs who have raised grievances with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, alleging that Mr. Gandhi’s actions amounted to an affront to women.
Poonam Mahajan, a BJP MP, condemned the alleged flying kiss, questioning Mr. Gandhi’s upbringing and chiding his actions. “His gesture, seen by everyone present, was a distressing sight. Such behavior is inexcusable for a member of parliament, who should be well-versed in maintaining decorum,” Mahajan stated in an interview with NDTV.
Rahul Gandhi, leading the second day of the No-Confidence Debate in the Lok Sabha, launched a scathing critique of the BJP-led Central government. Accusing the government of fracturing Manipur and accusing them of causing harm to the nation, he proclaimed, “You are not custodians of Bharat Mata, you are her executioners.”
Responding to Gandhi’s assertions, Smriti Irani rebuked the Congress MP for his inflammatory language, particularly his statement implicating the government in the “murder of India” in Manipur. Irani labeled it an unprecedented allegation, highlighting the applause Gandhi received from Congress members. “For the first time, someone has spoken about the ‘murder of India,’ and Congress leaders applauded. You do not represent India; you exemplify corruption in India, you epitomize ineptitude,” Irani retorted.
The No-Confidence Motion was introduced by Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, who argued that the opposition coalition, INDIA, was compelled to bring the vote of no-confidence due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s perceived silence on the Manipur issue.
The Prime Minister is set to respond to the debate on Thursday. Ahead of the crucial vote, he chaired a meeting of the BJP’s Parliamentary Party, where he alluded to the vote as a measure of internal trust within the opposition.
The ongoing session, which commenced on July 20, has been marred by recurrent disruptions from the opposition. In the wake of the unrest stemming from the May ethnic violence, which resulted in numerous casualties, injuries, and displacements, the opposition insists on prioritizing the Manipur issue in parliamentary discussions.
Reflecting on the situation, Home Minister Amit Shah underscored that the focus should be on addressing the Manipur situation rather than a mere display of strength through voting. He challenged the opposition to allow the debate to revolve around the crisis and its resolution, rather than a demonstration of parliamentary power.