A day before senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took off for a vacation to Milan, Union Minister Smriti Irani who emerged as a giant slayer, defeating the Gandhi scion from the Amethi Lok Sabha seat in 2019 General Assembly elections, warned of a similar fate awaiting another Congress pocket borough, Rae Bareli, in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Smriti Irani on Saturday accused the former Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi of using foul language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and resorting to spreading lies and deceit to sow confusion. “At this rate, Congress will end up losing Rae Bareli’s Lok Sabha seat too, a seat currently held by the interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in 2024 elections,” Irani said.
The Union Minister was on a three-day visit to her parliamentary constituency starting Friday. She also made a quick visit to nearby Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency held by Sonia Gandhi since 2004. The cabinet minister has also visited Lucknow to meet with Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath before travelling back to her constituency.
Stepping up attack against the Gandhi family, Irani dared Rahul Gandhi for a debate on the farmers’ issue and described Priyanka Gandhi’s proposed Kisan Yatra in Uttar Pradesh as a publicity stunt.
The Union Minister also quoted a tweet posted by BJP President JP Nadda to question Rahul Gandhi’s opposition to the newly introduced Farm Bills, stating that the Amethi’s farmers were fed up with the Congress party and therefore voted him out of power in the last Lok Sabha polls.
During her visit to Amethi, Irani also spoke of projects rolled out for her parliamentary constituency since she became the MP in 2019. Other BJP leaders also highlighted how the Yogi Adityanath government had passed several projects for Rae Bareli too. Besides AIIMS-Rae Bareli, the Ganga Expressway, which would connect Meerut to Prayagraj, and pass through Rae Bareli, pacts with private investors for fabricators and feeder factory for rail coach, a spice park for research on mint have also been authorised for the only remaining Congress enclave in the state, party leaders said.
Rahul Gandhi flies to Milan amidst rumblings within the Congress party
Smriti Irani’s biting remarks came a day before Rahul Gandhi left for vacation to Milan. According to reports, the Wayanad MP left for Milan, Italy early Sunday morning on a Qatar Airlines flight. His vacation to Milan comes a day before Congress’ foundation day where there was the party had decided to take up the nationalism pitch.
Gandhi’s vacation also comes amidst rumblings within the Congress party of making sweeping operational and leadership changes in the party, in a bid to arrest their declining political fortunes. In August this year, 23 dissident Congress leaders, including 5 former Chief Ministers, many Congress Working Committee members, incumbent MPs, and several former Union Ministers, wrote a letter to interim Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, calling for a complete overhaul of the party, from top to bottom.
The appalling performance in Bihar Assembly elections last month led to a fresh flare-up within the party, with the senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal publicly commenting that the time for introspection is over. Following Congress’ disappointing performance in Bihar, 23 senior Congress leaders had reportedly written a letter to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi demanding that an immediate CWC meeting be called to discuss the poll debacle in Bihar. They have reportedly also demanded organisational elections for the party president’s post be held at the earliest in the view of the electoral drubbing. They had also raised questions on the vacation by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra.