Row Over Congress Leader Udit Raj's "Chamchagiri" Remark Against President

"Udit Raj must apologise," demands Rekha Sharma, chief of the National Commission for Women

Udit Raj, a former MP, took a dig at President Droupadi Murmu over her speech in Gujarat. (File)

New Delhi:

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".

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.

The President's Twitter handle had shared her speech. 

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".

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.