New Delhi: Congress parliamentarian Renuka Chowdhury has put up a motion for breach of privilege against Union Minister Kiren Rijiju for sharing on Facebook a post mocking her laughter after Prime Minister Narendra Modi joked about it in the Rajya Sabha.
Mr Rijiju's post on Wednesday night had a video clip from the 1980s series "Ramayana", in which the mythical character Surpanakha, the evil sister of demon king Ravana, cackles loudly. Later in the video was a clip from the Rajya Sabha, when PM Modi took a dig at Ms Chowdhury for laughing loudly in the middle of his speech.
"This is highly objectionable," said a furious Ms Chowdhury, stung deeply by the Prime Minister's joke and Mr Rijiju's post.
PM Modi was responding to a debate on the President's address and dwelling on his government's schemes when Ms Chowdhury was heard laughing loudly. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, the chairperson of Rajya Sabha, was admonishing her when PM Modi said: "Meri aapse vinti hai Renuka ji ko kuch mat kahiye. Ramayan serial ke baad aisi hansi sunne ka saubhagya aaj jaake mila hai (I request you to let Renuka ji continue. After the Ramayana serial, we got the privilege of hearing this kind of laughter only today.)"
Though the Prime Minister never took names, the exchange fueled memes on social media and many speculated that Ms Chowdhury had been compared to Surpanakha, a prominent baddie in the Ramayana series based on the life of god-king Ram. Mr Rijiju's post vanished from his Facebook page yesterday, but on Twitter, he posted the Rajya Sabha video without the Ramayana clip.
The Congress has accused PM Modi of "lowering the dignity of his office" with his comments on Ms Chowdhury and has demanded his apology.
"Merely, a woman parliamentarian was laughing at his claims... what was alluded to (by Modi) is shameful...we condemn it. He should apologise. One of his Ministers has in social media posted something which is highly objectionable and the Prime Minister is silent," said senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.
The ruling BJP, however, said it was Ms Chowdhury who had insulted the Prime Minister by laughing in the middle of his speech.