Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury apologises for 'nirbala' remark on finance minister, says she is like sister

Leader of Congress party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday (December 4) apologised in the House for his remark against Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Chowdhury said, "during a discussion in the House I had addressed our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as Nirbala. Nirmala ji is like my sister and I am like her brother. If my words have hurt her then I am sorry."

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury apologises for 'nirbala' remark on finance minister, says she is like sister

New Delhi: Leader of Congress party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Wednesday (December 4) apologised in the House for his remark against Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Chowdhury said, "during a discussion in the House I had addressed our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as Nirbala. Nirmala ji is like my sister and I am like her brother. If my words have hurt her then I am sorry."

On Monday, Chowdhury took a dig at Nirmala Sitharaman and used the term `Nirbala` (powerless) to address her. He said, "We do have a lot of respect for you, but sometimes we wonder if it wouldn`t be more apt to address you as `Nirbala` Sitharaman instead of Nirmala Sitharaman. She heads the Finance Ministry, but we do not know whether you are even able to speak your mind or not." 

Chowdhury made this remark when the Finance Minister was responding to a debate on reducing the corporate tax in the country.

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Sitharaman had dismissed Chowdhury's remarks saying all women in BJP were "Sabla" (strong) while responding to his remark at the end of her reply to the debate on the Bill. 

She said two members in the Cabinet Committee on Security in the previous BJP-led government were women and women in the Cabinet were given "good portfolios". "Not so much talking as woman, I am Nirmala and will remain so ... We will remain Sabla. In our party, all are Sabla," she said adding that there was no question of being `Nirbala`.

Chowdhury's comment had created a furore and the BJP members demanded that his words should be removed from records. 

On Tuesday, the House once again witnessed the BJP members asking Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury to withdraw his "nirbala" remarks about Sitharaman. They said those who do not respect women should have not a right to speak. 

BJP MP Poonam Mahajan said the Congress member should see "subalta" (strength) in women and not "durbalta" (weakness), adding that Chowdhury's remarks about Sitharaman were "regrettable". 

Mahajan said that "derogatory words" reflected "patriarchal mindset" and alleged the Congress member was working for a family and not the country.

(With Agency Inputs)