Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has apologised to President Droupadi Murmu for referring to her as “Rashtrapatni” while talking to a reporter earlier this week.
“I am writing to express my regret for having mistakenly used an incorrect word to describe the position you hold. I assure you that it was a slip of the tongue. I apologise and request you to accept the same,” Mr Chowdhury wrote in a letter to President Murmu.
The BJP had raised the issue, saying Chowdhury was deliberately tarnishing a tribal and woman who has become a President, besides calling the remark sexist and against women. The ruling party had demanded an apology from Chowdhury for his comments.
Chowdhury has been reiterating that he made a slip of tongue as Hindi was not his mother tongue and he was not good at the language.
“I inadvertently used the word ‘rashtrapatni’ just once and it was a slip of the tongue. I never meant any disrespect to the President,” he told reporters outside Parliament, a day after making the remark. “What should I do? I said it and realised I uttered a wrong word. I even looked for mediapersons to request them to not focus on it. However, I couldn’t find them.”
The remark snowballed into a major controversy as the BJP vociferously targeted him and the party, leading to a brief war of words between Union Minister Smriti Irani and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.