Right now, political parties in India, especially the Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are in war of words over a Congress leader allegedly referring to the newly elected President of India, Droupadi Murmu as "Rashtrapatni" in a media interview earlier this week.
While the right term for a President is “Rashtrapati”, the Congress leader and MP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury reportedly referred to the President of India as “Rashtrapatni” wherein “Patni” means “Wife”.
As one has heard and seen from news reports, it drew the ire of the NDA government under the BJP at the Centre and in the states, including Manipur. It rocked Parliament with the BJP calling for the Congress leader to apologise; even the state of Manipur saw BJP leaders led by its state president, A. Sharda, protesting and burning effigy of the Congress leader.
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) led by its president, M Barish Sharma, also protested in front of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) office burning effigies of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Of course, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has reportedly written an apology to the president wherein he states that he is “writing to express my regret for having mistakenly used an incorrect word to describe the position you hold. I assure you that it was a slip of the tongue. I apologise and request you to accept the same". But of course, the BJP insisted the comment by the Congress MP Chowdhury was not a slip of the tongue with Law Minister Kiren Rijiju telling a news agency that the Congress leader used the word twice on the President of India. And it is a war of words that will go on for a while.
However, it is not the first time in Indian politics that politicians have called each other names or referred to each other by disrespectful names. And let us not take names here for some of them hold the highest posts in the country and the use of disrespectful names against their opponents are least expected from them.
In short, as elected leaders of a state or country, MLAs and MPs are expected to maintain a standard of behaviour and decorum especially when they make public appearances or speak. They are expected to lead the people by example through their words and actions and even bring people closer; they are even expected to work together, even as opposition parties, for the welfare of the people or development of the state or country. However, it appears that is not the case here – words have flown from both sides.
So, what do we expect from such leaders who do not respect each other, who only see each other as opponents and call each other names? Even to the point of calling the head of the country a derogatory name? Perhaps, it is time for the MLAs and MPs to mind their language and their action, as they are people’s representatives, looked up to by millions. Perhaps, it would be better if they put their mind and soul into working for the welfare of the people rather than fighting against each other.