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Rahul's flying kiss' in LS sparks row


Published on: August 9, 2023 | Updated on: August 9, 2023

Bharatiya Janata Janata Party MP and Union Minister Smriti Irani. (ANI)

New Delhi: After a hug and a wink in Parliament, now a "flying kiss" has landed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a fresh controversy.
Gandhi, who delivered his first speech on Wednesday after being reinstated, allegedly blew a flying kiss in the Lok Sabha towards the Treasury Benches.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who was addressing the Lok Sabha just after Gandhi's speech on the no-confidence motion against the Modi government, expressed outrage over Gandhi blowing a flying kiss in the Lok Sabha. Irani called the Congress leader a misogynist. She said that the House had never witnessed such an "indecent act".

In a complaint signed by more than 20 women parliamentarians, it was alleged that Gandhi made the "inappropriate gesture" towards Irani when she was speaking in the House during the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government.

BJP national vice-president D.K. Aruna also criticised Gandhi saying, "The improper gesture towards women members in the Lok Sabha is a reflection of his ‘culture’. The entire society bows its head in shame over this act by the Congress leader."

However, the Congress came out in defence of Gandhi, saying he never disrespects women, adding that the BJP is indulging in an "indecent" act of accusing him of "misconduct" as it does not want a debate on Manipur violence.

"The person who spoke before me... An indecent gesture was made... Only a misogynistic man can give a flying kiss to Parliament, which seats female members of Parliament... Such an indecent act has not been witnessed by the House ever before. The entire country has seen the culture of the (Gandhi) family," Irani said while speaking in the Lok Sabha on the Opposition's no-confidence motion.

Gandhi, while leaving the House after participating in the debate, was booed at by the Treasury Benches. He then turned around and blew a flying kiss.

BJP MP and Union minister Shobha Karandlaje, one of the signatories to the complaint, said that after "blowing a flying kiss towards Irani and all women members, he went away". She said: "This is totally the misbehaviour of the member. This is inappropriate and indecent behaviour by a member."

"Senior members are saying this has never happened before in the history of Parliament... A flying kiss is being given in Parliament. So, we have filed a complaint with the speaker to take the CCTV (camera) footage and take action against the MP," Karandlaje said.

The Congress whip in Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore accused Irani of suffering from "Rahul-phobia" and asked her to come out of it.

"Irani is consumed by Rahul phobia and she should try to come out of it," Tagore said.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also sought to defend Gandhi, saying, "I was at the visitors gallery and he (Gandhi) did it as a gesture of affection.

"They (the BJP) can't accept love. Why are they feeling bad about it? It was just a genuine gesture; that's what he did. Like he said, 'mohabbat ki dukaan'. You people have gotten used to 'nafrat' (hatred) and that is why you are not able to accept 'mohabbat' (love)," she added.