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Smriti Irani in Amethi ahead of PM’s visit, accuses Rahul Gandhi of lying

Union minister Smriti Irani’s Amethi visit was timed with the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme by the PM in Gorakhpur on Sunday.

lok sabha elections Updated: Feb 25, 2019 10:09 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
smriti irani in amethi,smriti irani,modi's amethi rally
Union minister Smriti Irani inspecting the proposed site for PM Narendra Modi’s rally on March 3 in Amethi.(HT Photo )

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Amethi on March 3, union textile minister Smriti Irani on Sunday reached the Congress bastion to launch a scathing attack on local MP and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Her Amethi visit was timed with the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme by the PM in Gorakhpur on Sunday.

Distributing Kisan Samman Nidhi certificates to 25 farmers from Amethi in a symbolic launch of cash transfer scheme during a programme at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Gauriganj, Irani repeatedly accused Gandhi of “lying”.

Hailing the PM-KISAN Scheme, she said it would benefit 3.80 lakh farmers of Amethi alone. Modi had last visited Amethi on the final day of the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign, a visit which political experts believe helped Irani put up an impressive fight against Gandhi in just about 20 days.

She had brought down Gandhi’s victory margin to one lakh votes in 2014, down from 3 lakh in 2009. Irani is widely tipped to re-contest against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in the 2019 LS polls.

“Five years back, Narendra Modiji had promised development. He has honoured his promise even as Amethi’s ‘naamdaar’ family only sold dreams to you,” she said after listening to Modi’s radio show ‘Mann ki Baat’.

Accusing Gandhi of never raising the issue of “Amethi’s development” in Lok Sabha, she said: “Your local MP never cared about the development of Amethi but about 1.40 lakh people in Amethi benefited through Modi government’s Ujjawala scheme and another 1.25 lakh got the benefits of Ayushman Bharat Scheme which provides illness cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per annum to each poor household.”

“The Modi government gave you ‘izzat ghar’ (toilets). In record time, the Yogi Adityanath government in UP has identified poor farmers who would benefit under the Kisan Samman Nidhi,” she said, stressing that only the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could develop Amethi.

She said the Modi government honoured 12 farmers with Padma awards.

Irani inspected the venue where the PM would address the people of Amethi and also met BJP leaders who have been tasked with ensuring a good turnout for Modi’s rally.

Both the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have decided against fielding a candidate from Amethi and Rae Bareli in 2019 LS polls – a decision likely to benefit the Congress.

First Published: Feb 25, 2019 10:09 IST