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War of words intensifies between Cong, BJP over Irani’s Diwali gift

A fresh round of war of words has erupted between the Congress and the BJP after union textiles minister Smriti Irani sent 10,000 sarees as Diwali gift to BJP women workers in Amethi, the Lok Sabha seat of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

lucknow Updated: Nov 06, 2018 16:10 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Smriti Irani,Diwali gift,BJP
After losing 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amethi, Irani has been frequenting the constituency. The Congress has often accused her of divesting Amethi of important development projects.(HT File )

A fresh round of war of words has erupted between the Congress and the BJP after union textiles minister Smriti Irani sent 10,000 sarees as Diwali gift to BJP women workers in Amethi, the Lok Sabha seat of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress and the BJP have been attacking each other for the past few months on various issues, including the development of the region, but the din got louder after the Congress dubbed Irani’s move as a political gimmick to reach out to the people ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Smriti Irani have not done anything for the constituency in the last five years. The BJP and its leaders are trying to make such moves when the Lok Sabha elections are inching closer. This will not make any difference in Amethi or Rae Bareli,” Congress MLC Deepak Singh said.

He said the Congress had a close association with the people of Amethi.

“We ensure relief to the people affected by fire or natural disasters. We regularly distribute blankets and other such items on festivals and birth anniversaries of prominent leaders,” Singh said.

President of Amethi District Congress Committee (DCC) Yogendra Mishra said his party did not indulge in publicising relief or help extended to the people.

“We organise many eye camps and health camps and distribute blankets in Amethi. Why did the minister not send any Diwali gift to the people last year? Her gift this year obviously has political motives,” said Mishra.

Refuting the claims of Congressmen, a BJP leader from Amethi Govind Singh said Irani had been sending gifts to the people of Amethi ever since she contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the constituency.

“Besides distributing sarees, Irani has got the local people avail the benefits of insurance and distributed saplings in the past. She has also distributed sweets on Makar Sakranti. The Congress has lots of funds. Instead of targeting the BJP, they should also give some gifts to its workers,” he said.

The BJP has been making efforts to make forays into Amethi and Rae Bareli ahead of 2019 polls.

After losing 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amethi, Irani has been frequenting the constituency. The Congress has often accused her of divesting Amethi of important development projects.

In neighbouring Rae Bareli too, the Lok Sabha seat of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the BJP has started reaching out to the people.

BJP president Amit Shah has inducted Congress MLC Dinesh Singh and others into the BJP fold hoping that they would help the party strengthen base in the Congress bastion.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s move to spend his MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) Fund in Rae Bareli was also viewed as an attempt to woo the people of Rae Bareli.

First Published: Nov 06, 2018 16:10 IST