Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 9 December, accused the Opposition of insulting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, which he said was an insult to women empowerment in the country.

Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, Modi referred to Sitharaman’s reply in Parliament on the Rafale deal, and said:

“We are proud that a daughter of our country, for the first time, has become India’s defence minister. For the first time, a woman is handling the security of 1.3 billion people. This is a matter of pride. She gave befitting reply to the Opposition in Parliament, exposed their lies.
They got so troubled that they are determined on insulting a woman, a woman defence minister. This not just an insult to the Defence Minister, but an insult to women empowerment in our country. These politicians will have to pay for it.”

Reacting to PM Modi’s accusations, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, said ‘respect for women begins at home’ and asked him whether the Defence Ministry and Air Force object to Rafale deal.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma has said that they will send a letter to Gandhi to clarify his remarks.

“We will send a letter to Rahul Gandhi tomorrow morning asking him to clarify on what grounds he made such a remark. As a politician he cannot make such a statement that shows a misogynistic attitude,” she added.

During his address, the prime minister said cleaning of river Yamuna is also their priority, under the Namami Gange Mission. He also spoke about his government’s efforts towards making Agra a ‘smart city’.

On the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, he said:

Projects Worth Rs 2,980 Cr Launched

Modi launched civic projects worth Rs 2,980 crore during his visit to the city.

He launched the Gangajal project to provide better and more assured water supply and also laid the foundation stone for an Integrated Command and Control Centre for the Agra Smart City project, reported PTI.

The smart city project is meant to develop the tourism destination as a modern world-class city.

Meanwhile, in a tweet, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav expressed hope that Modi would learn a lesson from his visit to the city of Taj.

“Hope the PM will return from Taj Mahal after learning a lesson of affection and love from it,” he tweeted hours before the prime minister’s visit.

Yadav also said he hoped that Modi will remember the pain of farmers growing potato, sugarcane and wheat in nearby areas.

“UP was never so far from Delhi that the country’s head did not have news about the plight of farmers and traders,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the prime minister had addressed a public rally in Maharashtra’s Solapurand said that the “historic” bill providing 10 percent reservation to economically weak upper castes would further strengthen the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. He also expressed hope that the bill would be passed in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament.

Modi was in Solapur to launch road and underground sewage system projects worth Rs 1,100 crore.

(With inputs from IANS)

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