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Smriti Irani sends Diwali gift of 10,000 sarees to BJP workers in Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi constituency

Women workers of BJP’s Amethi district, the recipients of Smriti Irani’s gift of 10,000 sarees, appeared delighted at the fact that the Union minister remembered them during the festival and described the gift as ‘didi’s love’.

india Updated: Nov 05, 2018 10:28 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
smriti irani,amethi,BJP women workers
Union textiles minister Smriti Irani has sent 10,000 sarees for BJP’s women workers of Amethi as Diwali gift. (PTI File Photo )

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani continues to engage with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, sending 10,000 sarees as gifts for the BJP’s women activists as a Diwali gift.

Buoyed by the narrowing of Gandhi’s victory margin in 2014 LS polls, the BJP plans to field Irani from the Congress pocket borough again. The union minister’s continued association with Amethi lends credence to this possibility, party workers say.

So, unlike previous occasions like in 2014 when despite her poll loss in Amethi, she had sent sarees for those women whose villages had voted for her, this time the festival consignment was intended to cheer party women active in Amethi.

The recipients had no knowledge of what brand of saree it was and appeared delighted at the fact that the Union minister remembered them during the festival.

“More than the saree per se, it’s the gesture that matters more. In 2019 LS elections, we would ensure that ‘didi’ springs a surprise here,” said Asha Bajpai, the party’s women wing chief in the district and a recipient of what she described as “didi’s love.”

“She has regularly been active in Amethi and it’s only natural that she has emerged as a strong contender for the seat. Don’t see sarees with political glasses. They merely reflect that the leader wants to share joy with people,” said BJP’s district chief Uma Shankar Pandey.

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had campaigned in Amethi, breaking the unwritten code of top leaders of parties not campaigning in each other’s constituencies.

The Congress had retaliated by holding a Rahul road show in Varanasi, Modi’s constituency. This time, leaders of both the BJP and the Congress admit, the campaign would be a lot more intense. Irani is expected in Amethi again post-Diwali after which both the Congress and the BJP would get into ‘poll mode’. The Congress is ready to target the BJP with a list of projects that were either “stalled, scrapped or unduly delayed” by the Centre. The BJP is readying a list of projects initiated by Irani despite her loss.

“Sarees won’t be able to save her humiliating defeat but we will welcome her here after her loss next year. Doing something for masses despite losing is a noble thing and we would like her to keep losing elections without losing her love for Amethi,” Congress secretary Devendra Pratap Singh said.

First Published: Nov 05, 2018 09:30 IST