Smriti Irani buys land in Amethi, takes a dig at Congress

She has bought 11 biswa land for ₹12.11 lakh from local resident Phoolmati Devi to honour the promise she made in the Tiloi area of Amethi soon after defeating then Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2021 10:10 AM IST
Union minister Smriti Irani with papers for land registration in Amethi on Monday. (HT photo)

Union minister Smriti Irani has purchased land in Amethi where she will build her residence, in an apparent bid to cement her ties with her Lok Sabha constituency. This also makes her only the third MP from Amethi who would have a residence there.

Irani arrived in Amethi on Monday to complete the formalities of the purchase. She has bought 11 biswa land for 12.11 lakh from local resident Phoolmati Devi to honour the promise she made in the Tiloi area of Amethi soon after defeating then Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

She also announced that people from each village of Amethi and Rae Bareli would be called for the bhoomi pujan (groundbreaking ceremony), the date of which is not decided yet.

Once the paperwork was done for the land, a couple of kilometres away from main Gauriganj town, Irani took a dig at the Congress which has held the seat multiple times but none of its MPs has had a base here. “The people who poured their love and blessings on me wanted an MP who is available among them. In corona times, too, we connected with the people through e-chaupals and, before that, I reached out to them through programmes like Didi Aapke Dwar (Didi at your doorstep),” said Irani, who is locally known as didi [elder sister] among the people.

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She added, “People always wondered if they will ever have an MP who would reach out to the villages. At least, I consider myself fortunate that I was able to fulfil this.”

Irani’s decision makes her only the third MP from Amethi to also have a residence there. Interestingly, her 2019 Lok Sabha win from Amethi was also the third Congress defeat on this seat since it came into being. The other two MPs who chose to have a residence here being the only two non-Congress MPs to have held this seat. They are: Ravindra Pratap Singh of Janata Party, who won the post-emergency 1977 election, and Sanjay Sinh of the BJP who defeated Congress leader Captain (retired) Satish Sharma in 1998 elections.

For political observers, Irani’s decision to buy land in Amethi, just two years after her win and less than a year before the UP assembly elections, shows BJP’s intent to keep its grip on this former Congress bastion that it wrested in 2019.

“Politics is all about symbolism and this surely is a powerful one. For the locals, it would mean that their MP intends to be among them. While its overall impact remains to be seen, it surely is a move that would be talked about. The land has been purchased, the house would take some time to be built and the idea of their didi wanting to be among them would be reinforced in the interim,” said veteran journalist Irshad Ilmi.

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