New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi was "listening to whatever was necessary" in President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday, party leader and former Union Minister Anand Sharma told reporters in New Delhi.
Sharma, who was responding to BJP's allegations that Rahul was busy using a phone during President Kovind's address, said: "He was there, and was listening to whatever was necessary."
When asked to comment on BJP's allegations that Gandhi's act disrespected the President, Sharma said: "There were certain queries about certain words. There were some difficult Hindi words which they (Rahul) did not hear clearly as to what was said."
"There is nothing like disrespecting as it is being said. I think it is very frivolous if the BJP is saying this," he said.
The senior Congress leader also alleged that there are several ministers who were talking to each other during Kovind's address in the Central Hall of Parliament.
"If the footage is taken, then half of the ministers were talking to each other. Were they also disrespecting the President? It is not a fair comment," he said.
Earlier, several BJP leaders and ministers criticised Rahul for looking at his mobile phone.
Terming it as "unfortunate," Union minister Giriraj Singh called Gandhi a "non-serious" leader.
"He is a tall leader of a party. The President was presenting a roadmap about the country's progress in the next five years. It is extremely unfortunate that a leader who calls himself a serious leader but is not serious," he said.
"Nothing can be more unfortunate than his using a mobile phone and does not pay heed to what the president was saying," Singh said.
Minister of State of Sports Kiren Rijiju also criticised the Congress president and said: "Rahul Gandhi keeps playing with his phone. He should practice yoga to focus on himself."
Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo said that Gandhi has no interest even in own his party and he may have found "something more important" than President Kovind's speech.
"He may have something more important in his mobile than the President's address or about what the government is going to do in its tenure," he said.
A video purportedly showing Rahul using his mobile phone during the President's customary address at Thursday's joint sitting of Parliament went viral on social media. (ANI)
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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2019 21:56:26 IST