In what is widely being condemned as a display of sexism in the Parliament of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Congress member Renuka Chowdhury in the Rajya Sabha over her laughter, after Vice President Venkaiah Naidu admonished her for it.
The Congress MP laughed loudly after the Prime Minister claimed that Aadhaar was conceptualised during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
To this, Venkaiah said that he would have to name her and call her out for her “unruly behaviour.”
“If you have some problem, go to the doctor please,” he said and termed her behaviour as “loose, dark and unruly.”
At this point, Modi interjected and said, “Chairman sir, I request you not to tell Renukaji anything. It is our good fortune to listen to such laughter for the first time after Ramayan serial,” he said, amidst thunderous applause.
You can watch it here:
Modi’s comment was a reference to Soorpanakha, a character from Ramayana projected as a ‘loose’ woman. The BJP’s IT cell confirmed this on Twitter with this controversial tweet.
Someone sent me this video clip from Ramayana in response to ‘identify the laughter’ contest... Can you identify her? pic.twitter.com/3odFs9TXA9— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) February 7, 2018
The video comparing Renuka Chowdhury to Soorpanakha was also shared by the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, on both his Facebook and Twitter pages.
Despite such vexatious laugh by Renuka Chaudhary ji PM Narendra Modi ji didn't get irritated. pic.twitter.com/pc5TGOYhZV— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) February 8, 2018
Renuka later hit back at the PM. “PM made a personal remark, what else do you expect from him? I can't fall to that level to reply to him. This is actually called denigrating the status of a woman,” she told ANI.
PM made a personal remark, what else do you expect from him? I can't fall to that level to reply to him. This is actually called denigrating the status of a woman: Renuka Chowdhury,Congress pic.twitter.com/5DIEYAOfdf— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2018
The Congress later condemned the PM’s comment, and asked Rajya Sabha Speaker Venkaiah Naidu to not act in a partisan manner.
We condemn PM Modi's derogatory remark in the Parliament against former Union Minister and RS MP Renuka Chowdhury.— Congress (@INCIndia) February 8, 2018
We also urge the RS Speaker Shri Venkaiah Naidu to not act in a partisan manner and accord due respect to a fellow member of the house.#ModiAntiWomen https://t.co/quNQeIkAEk
On Thursday, the Congress called it an insult, and decided to file a privilege motion in the Rajya Sabha against the PM’s remarks.
This is highly objectionable, and I am going to file for privilege: Renuka Chowdhury, Congress on Kiren Rijiju posting a video of PM Modi's remarks on Renuka Chowdhury in Rajya Sabha yesterday. pic.twitter.com/9d7gEL0IqC— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2018
The Prime Minister and the Vice President were condemned severely insulting a woman and insinuating that she had mental health issues.
So it's not cool for woman MP to cackle in Parliament but totally cool for Vice President to suggest she see a doc (cos #MentalIllness?) and for PM to compare her to a demoness whose nose was cut off? And then for all the menfolk to cackle? #misogyny #RenukaChowdhury— Ranjitha Gunasekaran (@ranjim) February 7, 2018
#Modi's contempt for #RenukaChowdhury's laughter is unsurprising. Our PM is a known misogynist who has called #SoniaGandhi a "cow", called #SunandaTharoor a "50 crore girlfriend" & trivialised #Gujarat's women by joking about female malnutrition in his state. #ThursdayThoughts— Anna MM Vetticad (@annavetticad) February 8, 2018
I am not surprised at the misogynistic comment by PM on #RenukaChowdhury ?This govt thrives on pulling institutions/people down to cover up for their lack of performance.Shows their gutter mentality & that's why we have the likes of #VinayKatiyar making merry at the cost of India— Priyadarshi (@MajChowdhury) February 8, 2018