Union minister Smriti Irani and Priyanka Gandhi traded barbs on Wednesday over the issue of an Indian Institute of Information Technology in Rae Bareli, escalating a battle for political brownie points in the Congress pocket borough.
On Tuesday, the Union human resources minister had visited Amethi, where she had lost to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha polls, and accused the opposition party of ignoring the people of the constituency as well as Rae Bareli, represented by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Both the constituencies in Uttar Pradesh are Congress strongholds.
“She is the HRD minister. First, she should tell us why she is not setting up an IIIT here. The youth are facing a lot of problems and this is her department. Why is she not looking into it?” Priyanka said in Rae Bareli on Wednesday.
Irani had attacked the Nehru-Gandhi family saying that after years of “hollow” promises Rae Bareli and Amethi will now see development.
Soon after Priyanka’s retort, Irani, who was holding a press conference in Midnapore in West Bengal, responded by saying: “Mrs Vadra has not done her homework. There is an off campus of IIIT Allahabad in Amethi. What is astounding is that while the Gandhi family has ruled the bastion for 60 years, they have done absolutely nothing.
The HRD ministry recently set up a panel to consider the issue of making the IIIT Amethi campus an independent institute, raising apprehensions that the Centre may decide to shift it to Allahabad.
(With inputs from agencies)