Newly inducted Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani finally broke her silence on Thursday and responded to Congress' comments about her qualification by asking the opposition to judge her by her "work".
Congress leader Ajay Maken had had on Tuesday started a row by tweeting, "What a Cabinet of Modi? HRD Minister (looking after education) Smriti Irani is not even a graduate! Look at her affidavit at ECI site pg 11."
"Judge me by my work. I can simply say this," Smriti told reporters.
"I have been judged by my organisation with regard to my capacity to deliver on assignments," she said.
Smriti Irani fires back says 'judge me by my work'
"Extraneous circumstances have been created to deviate my attention from the work I have been given," Irani added.
Graduate or Class 12 pass?
Maken's tweet had drawn sharp reactions from the BJP on Wednesday which returned fire by asking what Sonia Gandhi's qualification was and advising Congress leaders to shun "their arrogance" and introspect why they lost in the Lok Sabha polls.
"We want to advise Congress leaders that after country's people rejected them in Lok Sabha elections, they should now leave their arrogance behind and introspect," said BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Defending Irani, her cabinet colleague and water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister Uma Bharti questioned Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's qualifications.
The Congress later picked up the inconsistencies relating to her educational qualifications in affidavits she filed in 2004, 2011 and 2014, with the later ones indicating she did not complete graduation.
While the affidavit filed by Irani when she contested the 2004 Lok Sabha polls said she had completed a BA from Delhi University's School of Correspondence in 1996, the 2011 submission for her Rajya Sabha elections under the head "highest qualification" stated that she did B Com Part I, again from DU's School of Correspondence, in 1994.
This claim was also made in her declaration when she contested the recent Lok Sabha elections against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi.
(With PTI inputs)