Criticised over graduation row, Smriti Irani brings up Amethi in her response
Union minister Smriti Irani on Friday hit back at the Congress following its attack on the BJP candidate from Amethi Lok Sabha seat over her qualification as mentioned in the affidavit filed along with the nomination papers for elections.
“They have attacked me in every possible way in the last five years. There is no abuse that they have not hurled at me for being a woman. I only have one message for them, the more you will insult me, the more you attack me, the harder I will work against the Congress in Amethi,” said Irani.
The Union minister was responding to the remarks made by Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, who targeted Irani drawing an analogy with a TV serial – Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, in which she played the lead character before entering politics.
Chaturvedi said, “A new serial is going to come - Kyunki Mantri Bhi Kabhi Graduate Thi. Its opening line will be ‘qualifications ke bhi roop badalte hain, naye-naye sanche mein dhalte hain, ek degree aati hai, ek degree jaati hai, bante affidavit naye hain (qualification changes with time, gets moulded in new forms, one degree comes and the other goes, new affidavits are signed).”
The Congress leader was referring to the affidavit that Irani has submitted while filing her papers for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat on Thursday. In her affidavit, Irani said she did not complete her Bachelor of Commerce (Part-I) - a three-year degree course - from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning in 1994.
In her affidavit for 2014 polls, Irani had reportedly mentioned her highest qualification as graduate from the Delhi University in 1994. This had led to a row with the Opposition parties contesting her claim.
Chaturvedi on Friday said, “Union Minister Smriti Irani, who had been rubbishing Opposition’s claim that she is not a graduate, yesterday accepted that she enrolled for an undergraduate course in Delhi University but did not complete it.”
“We have no issue with the fact that Smriti Irani is not a graduate. The issue here is that she has lied repeatedly on oath and to the courts,” the Congress spokesperson said.
Irani is fighting against Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Amethi Lok Sabha seat. She has been campaigning against Gandhi accusing him of neglecting the development-related issues in his constituency.
Gandhi had defeated Irani in 2014 Lok Sabha election in a closely contested fight by a margin of 1.07 lakh which was considerably lower than his victory margin of 2009 when he secured 3.70 lakh more votes than his nearest challenger.
Irani has stepped her attack on Gandhi after he decided to contest from a second Lok Sabha seat in Kerala’s Wayanad parliamentary constituency. While Gandhi said he chose Wayanad to send a “message of unity” to the people of south India, Irani said the Congress president was filed nomination from a “safe seat” out of the fear of losing in Amethi.