“Jijaji Ki Nazar…”: Smriti Irani Mocks Rahul Gandhi Amid Amethi Pick Buzz

Smriti Irani defeated Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha election

New Delhi:

With the Congress yet to announce its candidate in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, sitting BJP MP Smriti Irani has taken a swipe at Rahul Gandhi and his brother-in-law Robert Vadra, and claimed that she ensured more work in the constituency in five years than Mr Gandhi did in 15.

The remarks come after Mr Vadra sparked speculation that he may contest the Amethi seat, a Congress stronghold where Ms Irani won in 2019. Amethi votes on May 20 in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha polls.

“Jijaji ki nazar hai, saale sahab kya karenge. (brother-in-law is eyeing the seat, what will he (Mr Gandhi) do?) There was a time when people travelling in buses would leave their handkerchief to mark their seat so that no one sits on it. Rahul Gandhi will also come to mark his seat with a handkerchief because his brother-in-law is eyeing this seat,” she told a gathering in Amethi.

“Has this ever happened? Just 27 days left for election, but Congress has not announced its candidate. Such arrogance. What I could do in five years, Rahul Gandhi could not do in 15,” Ms Irani added.

Before she defeated Mr Gandhi in the 2019 election, he had represented Amethi for three terms in a row. The seat has been represented in the past by his parents Sonia Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and uncle, late Sanjay Gandhi, and was once considered a bastion of the Congress.

Mr Gandhi, who is contesting from Kerala’s Wayanad, was recently asked if he would be Congress’s candidate in Amethi too. “I will do whatever the party orders me,” he replied.

Earlier, Mr Vadra sparked a buzz when he said that the people of Amethi feel that if he contests there, “they’ll have the option of correcting their mistake of electing Smritiji”. “I am sure they will ensure my victory by a huge margin if I contest,” he said.

Wayanad is voting on April 26 and the last date of filing nomination for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat is May 3. This means Mr Gandhi can announce his nomination after the polling in Wayanad.

Ms Irani’s campaign, meanwhile, is in full swing. She has alleged that Mr Gandhi will come to Amethi after April 26 and try to divide people in the name of caste.

“After the voting in Wayanad on April 26, Rahul Gandhi will come here to tell everyone that Amethi is his family and stoke the fire of casteism. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party rejected the invitation for the consecration ceremony of Lord Shri Ram in Ayodhya, but he will be seen roaming around the temples in Amethi. So there is a need to be careful and alert,” she said at a local meeting.

Top Congress leaders had skipped the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple this January, accusing the BJP of making a political project of the Ayodhya temple.

Ms Irani has said alleged that Mr Gandhi never raised issues of Amethi in Parliament and people the of the constituency did not even get access to drinking water during his term as MP.