A combative Smriti Irani on Monday refused to say sorry in the Lok Sabha after being accused of pointing a finger at Trinamul MP Sugata Bose and telling him to sit down when the history professor intervened during a reply by the HRD minister.
She also repeated the words “have I committed any sin?”, as she rubbished a “chargesheet” on her alleged non-performance.
Smriti was replying to a debate over demands for grants when Bose tried to raise the issue of reduced budgetary allocations for her ministry. She apparently asked him to sit down. After she had completed her reply, Trinamul MP Saugata Roy sought an apology, saying the “way she raised her finger at an eminent historian like Dr Sugata Bose is just not acceptable”.
“There is no question of a regret,” Smriti retorted. “My humble submission is that eminence per se is not a certificate to mislead the House.”
The reference was to a discussion last Friday, when Bose had brought up IIT Bombay chairman Anil Kakodkar’s resignation following differences over selection of some IIT directors. Ministry sources have said Kakodkar has agreed to continue till his tenure ends next month.
After Smriti refused to apologise, Bose spoke of his new experience. “…I have not even since my primary school days been asked by anyone, when I have stood up respectfully, to sit down in the way that the HRD minister of this country did today,” he said.
Sources said the minister’s “aggression” was probably a result of unconfirmed reports that she might be dropped or shifted to a low-profile ministry as the Prime Minister wasn’t satisfied with her workt hat Am I biased? the number of . The remark was aimed at Tharoor.
Smriti, however, sought to make MPs happy, saying she would try to increase their yearly reference quota for admissions in central schools from six to 10.