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I'm Nirmala, all women in BJP sabla: Nirmala Sitharaman on Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's Nirbala jibe

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday slammed Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for his "nirbala [weak]" swipe at her, saying every woman in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is "sabla [strong]".

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(Video by Hindustan Times)

While participating in the discussion on the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took a swipe at Nirmala Sitharaman and suggested that the finance minister has become weak and called her 'Nirbala Sitharaman'.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, while addressing in Lok Sabha, had said, "Even though I respect you, but at times I think you should be called 'Nirbala' than Nirmala." The comment immediately drew protest from BJP members in the House.

During her reply, Nirmala Sitharaman did not directly refer to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's comment but concluded her speech by saying she still is Nirmala and "sabla".

Nirmala Sitharaman said, "I am not Nirbala, every woman in our party is sabla [strong]. I am Nirmala, I shall remain Nirmala". She further said that under the Narendra Modi-led government, all women are "sabla".

"Under this government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, women are sablas," she said.

Nirmala Sitharaman said, "From Panchayat level to national executive level, our party [BJP] has given strength to women and every woman in our is sabla."

© Himanshu Bhatt/NurPhoto via Getty Images

BEEN TOLD I'M WORST FINANCE MINISTER: NIRMALA SITHARAMAN

In her reply to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Nirmala Sitharaman also said that she and her party listen and respond to every criticism made against them.

"I have been told that I am the worst finance minister. They're not even waiting for me to finish my term. I told them that please give me more ideas, we will work on it. If there's a government that listens, it is PM Narendra Modi's government," Nirmala Sitharaman said.

"It is our government which whenever called and asked to respond, came to the house and replied. But unfortunately, there are people who have developed their DNA to only question and walk away when the government comes with a response," Nirmala Sitharaman said.

RESPONDED AFTER ALL REMARKS: SITHARAMAN ON RAHUL BAJAJ EPISODE

Nirmala Sitaraman also mentioned industrialist Rahul Bajaj's interaction with Home Minister Amit Shah at an award function. Referring to it, she said, "We are a responsive government ready to hear every section, every segment and take corrective measures. The home minister heard every word and I was also on the dais. We responded only after hearing all the remarks."

Bajaj Auto Chairman Rahul Bajaj at an award function on Saturday in Mumbai said there was an "atmosphere of fear" and people were afraid to criticise the government and do not have the confidence that the government will appreciate any criticism.

The audience included Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman among others.

The businessman's remarks came a day after former prime minister Manmohan Singh, delivering his valedictory address at a national conclave on the economy, said many industrialists tell him they live in fear of harassment by government authorities.

NDA IS 'NON-DELIVERY AGENCY': ADHIR CHOWDHURY

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also targeted the Central government by stating that "this NDA government has become a Non-renewable Delivery Agency because there are just promises here."

APOLOGISE, WITHDRAW COMMENT: BJP

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's 'nirbala' comment on Nirmala Sitharaman drew flak from the BJP leaders in the Lok Sabha, with Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur demanding that Chowdhury apologise and withdraw his remark against the finance minister.

"You are raising question marks on her capability... She is here due to her merit," Anurag Thakur said, adding that such remarks are disrespectful to women.

Adhir Ranjan 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."

(With agency inputs)

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