The National Commission for Women has decided to send a notice to Congress leader Udit Raj over his allegedly "derogatory and insulting" remarks about President Droupadi Murmu in which he'd accused her of "heights of chamchagiri (sycophancy)". The BJP, Udit Raj's former party, has demanded an apology from him and the Congress for "insult of the first tribal President of India".
Highly objectionable statement against the Supreme power of the country and a woman who with her sheer hard work reached at this position. @Dr_Uditraj must apologise for his derogatory and insulting statement. @NCWIndia is sending him a notice. https://t.co/wXnEgoC8Av— Rekha Sharma (@sharmarekha) October 6, 2022
Udit Raj has since defended his tweet over President Murmu's recent speech in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, in which she'd said, "Gujarat produces 76 per cent of the country's salt; it can be said that all of the country's people eat the salt of Gujarat".
The state is indeed a major salt producer, but critics such as Udit Raj were incensed by the words "namak khaate hain", a Hindi phrase that denotes a pledge of loyalty. Udit Raj asked her to try and live on mere salt — something deprived communities often have to do.
द्रौपदी मुर्मू जी जैसा राष्ट्रपति किसी देश को न मिले। चमचागिरी की भी हद्द है । कहती हैं 70% लोग गुजरात का नमक खाते हैं । खुद नमक खाकर ज़िंदगी जिएँ तो पता लगेगा।— Dr. Udit Raj (@Dr_Uditraj) October 5, 2022
The President's Twitter handle had shared her speech.
गुजरात में देश का 76 प्रतिशत नमक बनाया जाता है। यह कहा जा सकता है कि सभी देशवासी गुजरात का नमक खाते हैं। pic.twitter.com/e2XbrEQuqH— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) October 3, 2022
After the BJP's outcry, Mr Raj further tweeted that people such as him — he is from the Dalit community, historically deprived like the tribals — have a duty to question President Murmu as "when SC/ST (Scheduled Caste/Tribe) reach to higher position, they ditch their communities & become mum".
My statement as regard to Draupadi Murmuji is mine & nothing to do with Congress.Her candidature & campaign were in the name adivasi, it doesn't mean she is no longer adivasi. My heart cries that when SC/ST reach to higher position, they ditch their communities & become mum.— Dr. Udit Raj (@Dr_Uditraj) October 6, 2022
BJP's Sambit Patra called Udit Raj's "chamchagiri" comments "indecent, sad, and worrying".
"It is not the first time that the Congress party has used such words for the President," Mr Patra said in tweet, referring to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary having called her "Rashtrapatni", an allegedly sexist remark for which Mr Chowdhary apologised.
Mr Patra demanded an apology from the Congress.
Udit Raj, a former BJP MP, had switched sides ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.