Challenging Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his home turf, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union minister for Textiles, Smriti Irani on Friday said that Amethi is no more a stronghold for him as he has lost all the seats in Lok Sabha from the area.
"Amethi is no more a stronghold for Rahul Gandhi. He lost all the seats in Lok Sabha from Amethi. Amethi should be known as territory of development. If Congress had strong hold in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi should have won all the elections in the last five years in Amethi," said Irani who is on a one-day tour to the area for events related to her party.
Gandhi too was supposed to be in Amethi on Friday but he postponed his visit to his constituency by a day in order to participate in the debate on Rafale deal in Lok Sabha.
When asked to comment on the fresh date given by the Supreme Court on the Ayodhya dispute, Irani refused to get drawn on the subject.
"The Prime Minister has spoken on this issue, hence, for another Cabinet Minister to speak on it is something which is not desirable. But I will reiterate what Prime Minister has said, that Congress leaders in the guise of lawyer do not go to Supreme Court and become obstacle in this particular process. It is for Rahul Gandhi to answer, why Congress leaders in Supreme Court of India becoming obstacle in this issue," Irani said.
When asked about Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's statement with regard to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar people going and working in Madhya Pradesh, Irani said: "Well it is for Rahul Gandhi to answer. Why was Rahul Gandhi silent when Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister spoke against Uttar Pradesh and Bihar migrants when the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister after taking oath of office said UP people need to be driven out from MP and not to be given jobs...? How will he see eye to eye with people of Amethi today?"
Responding on the poster of 'Rahul Gandhi next PM' visible in Amethi, she said: "Rahul Gandhi ko mahagathbandhan main is tarah ka aashirvaad na Mayawati se prapt hua hai, na Akhilesh se hua hai, na Mamata se hua hai,toh Mungerilal ke sapne dekhne hain toh kisne mana kiya hai. (Rahul Gandhi does not have the blessings of Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav in the grand alliance. Yet, nothing stops him from day dreaming).
The union minister inaugurated a CT Scan centre in Amethi, distributed blankets and a foundation stone for a school and met her party workers in Amethi.
Gandhi, a Member of Parliament from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, had defeated BJP candidate Irani from this Lok Sabha seat in 2014 elections. Irani is expected to contest from the Amethi seat once again in the 2019 polls for which she has been trying to increase her influence through frequent visits.
However, with the 2019 General Elections round the corner, the two leaders are back to the drawing board once against to rejuvenate their cadres and enthuse their voters.
Gandhi will visit Amethi on January 5 to meet the people of his constituency, attend public and party reception events, and hold meetings.