Arrogance of being Cong's political master led to Rahul's defeat in Amethi: Smriti Irani
Kochi, Oct 19 (PTI) Union Minister Smriti Irani on Thursday took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying he is the "political master" of his party and that "arrogance" caused his defeat in Amethi, a seat that the grand old party had held "as a family" for over four decades.
Irani, the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, further said that the alliance of opposition parties today on the national front was one she had fought in Amethi in 2019 when she defeated Rahul Gandhi.
The minister was responding to a query from the audience during the Manorama News Conclave 2023 organised by the Malayalam Manorama group here as to why BJP was unable to win a seat in Kerala and whether she would compete against Gandhi to remedy the same.
Answering the query, Irani said, "Rahul Gandhi is the political master of the Congress party and I am a political 'karyakarta' (worker) of the BJP. There is a huge political difference between being a political master and a worker.
"I think it is that arrogance that has ensured that the Congress party, even in a Lok Sabha constituency called Amethi, in the past four-and-a-half years that I have been an MP from there, out of five assembly constituencies has lost the security deposit in four." She said that in 2019, Congress had over four lakh votes in Amethi, "which they held as a family for close to four decades", and now that has been reduced to 1.2 lakh.
"I think that is indicative that though there has been a decadal stronghold in many pockets by opposition parties. It takes time, but eventually the BJP's karyakarta does manage to gain victory," the union minister said.
She also pointed out that in the 2019 LS polls, Congress did not fight alone in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.
"They fought with the support of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP. So the alliance you see today on the national front is an alliance I have fought in 2019 in Amethi," she said.
Regarding the INDIA bloc, Irani also said that if you look closely at the "amalgamation" of political forces, "the fissures and fractures amongst them are more than obvious".
She further said that all the opposition parties coming together with the purpose of defeating Narendra Modi was the biggest indication that he would get re-elected for a third term.
"One was not enough, they needed multiple political forces to challenge this one political leader. If that does not give you an indication of the impending success electorally in 2024, what more would you ask for," she said in response to a query regarding Modi's remark sometime back that he would get a third term.
On a query from the audience from a Congress member as to whether the Women's Reservation Bill was an "election stunt" and would it be implemented, Irani said that first delimitation has to happen which can only take place in 2026 according to Article 82 of the Constitution.
She claimed that when the Congress had introduced the Bill, it did not contain the process to implement the reservation for women.
After the Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha where the BJP supported it, the Congress left it pending in the Lok Sabha for four years despite having the numbers to push it through, the minister claimed.
"The Congress never had the intention of passing it," she alleged.
Irani further said that under the Bill proposed by the Congress, women could fight in only two elections, while under the BJP's legislation, the reservation would be available for 15 years, which means three terms.
After that, it would come back to Parliament again to decide whether women have received the political parity that the Bill desires to ensure, she said.
"Which means the BJP did not leave it open-ended. So read Article 82 of the Constitution," Irani said to the Congress member who raised the query regarding the Bill. PTI HMP HMP ANE