On a day of high-pitched battles in the Lok Sabha, women MPs of the BJP accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of making an “inappropriate gesture” by giving “flying kiss” towards Union Minister Smriti Irani towards Union Minister Smriti Irani and gave a written complaint to Speaker Om Birla.
The complaint to Mr. Birla was signed by more than 20 women parliamentarians, including Union Ministers Shobha Karandlaje and Darshana Jardosh.
“We demand stringent action against such behaviour by the Member which has not only insulted the dignity of the women members in the House but has also brought disrepute and lowered the dignity of this august House,” they said in their complaint.
Though not caught on camera, this correspondent witnessed what unfolded soon after Mr. Gandhi completed his speech. As he was walking out of the House just when Ms. Irani started speaking, members of the Treasury benches shouted at him to stay back and listen to the Minister’s speech.
He was then not in seat but was in the passage leading to the exit and was picking up a sheaf of papers after they fell off the file he was holding. He turned around towards the Treasury benches and blew a flying kiss and smiled before walking out.
Raising the matter in her speech during the no-confidence debate, Ms. Irani said, “The person who spoke before me... an indecent gesture was made... only a misogynistic man can give a flying kiss to Parliament which seats female Members of Parliament... such indecent act has not been witnessed by the House ever before. The entire country has seen the culture of the [Gandhi] family.”
During the 2018 no-confidence motion debate, Mr. Gandhi courted controversy as he not only hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his speech but had also winked.
Congress MP Geeta Kauda, however, defended Mr. Gandhi claiming that he never insulted women. She alleged that the BJP has a habit of distorting issues to divert people’s attention.
The Congress too complained of bias and said Mr. Gandhi spoke for close 40 minutes but cameras of Sansad TV hardly focused on him.
“In his first speech after coming back from the unjustified disqualification, @RahulGandhi spoke from 12:09pm to 12:46pm i.e. 37 minutes during the No-Confidence Motion. Out of which the Sansad TV camera showed him for ONLY 14 mins 37 seconds. That’s less than 40% screen time! What is Mr. Modi afraid of?” Congress communication chief Jairam Ramesh wrote on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).