New Delhi, Dec 2: Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday took a swipe at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman by calling her "Nirbala", which immediately drew protest from BJP members in the House.
Participating in the discussion on the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, Chowdhury suggested that the finance minister has become weak and called her 'Nirbala Sitharaman'.
As the BJP members protested against his comment, Speaker Om Birla ruled that any unparliamentary remark would be removed from the records.
During her reply, Sitharaman did not directly refer to Chowdhury's comment but concluded her speech by saying she still is Nirmala and "sabla" (empowered).
"Under this government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, women are sablas," she said.
Chowdhury had also attacked the government during the debate, saying the ruling National Democratic Alliance can also be called the "Non-Delivery Agency" as it only makes promises.
Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur demanded that Chowdhury apologise and withdraw his remark against Sitharaman.
"You are raising question marks on her capability... She is here due to her merit," he said, adding that such remarks are disrespectful to women.
Chowdhury refused to withdraw his remark but said, "You can remove it from proceedings, if you wish."
He sought to defend himself saying he had said the finance minister did not have the freedom to work freely, therefore, "I wonder whether you are Nirmala or Nirbala."
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said instead of apologising, Chowdhury was defending his remark which was not right.
Seeking to calm the agitated members, Speaker Birla said unparliamentary comments from opposition as well as the treasury benches would be removed from the records.
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Bengaluru: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan on Saturday clarified that the government has not taken any decision on imposing lockdown on Saturdays, amid spike in COVID-19 cases and said necessary action will be taken if the need arises, depending on the situation.
Under Unlock 2.0 the state government has already announced complete lockdown on five Sundays in Karnataka, starting from July 5 to August 2.
Following the spike in COVID-19 infections, speculations are rife that the government was considering extending it to Saturdays too, aimed at controlling the spread by restricting the movement of people.
"As of now there is no (lockdown on Saturdays). It's Saturday today and there is no lockdown. No such decision has been taken so far," Narayan said in response to a question from reporters.
"Looking at the situation, in future if there is such a need, the Chief Minister will decide," he said.
Following the increase in cases, some experts have reportedly suggested that the government reimpose lockdown, if not for an extended period, at least on Saturdays, along with Sundays.
As of now, there is a complete lockdown on Sundays. However, essential activities and marriages already fixed on those days have been permitted by the government.
"Lockdown is one of the solutions, there is no doubt about it, as it restricts the movement of people.
But with lockdown you can only postpone the spread and not eradicate it," he said.
The government would also have to consider the impact of the lockdown on people, the Deputy Chief Minister said.
"Lets see, many in the government are of the opinion that there should be no lockdown.
Looking at the situation, the Chief Minister and the government will take appropriate decisions," he said.
As of July 10 evening, cumulatively 33,418 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 543 deaths and 13,836 discharges. Bengaluru urban district tops the list of positive cases, with a total of 15,329 infections.