Smriti's Sweet Revenge in Gandhi Bastion - The New Indian Express

Smriti's Sweet Revenge in Gandhi Bastion

Published: 01st Jun 2014 07:53:09 AM

NEW DELHI: Defeated by Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, albeit by a hugely reduced margin when compared to 2009, and pilloried by the Congress about her supposed lack of educational qualifications, HRD Minister Smriti Irani is having the last laugh. In an ironic twist of fate, she will inaugurate two dream projects—both universities—of the Gandhis, conceptualised for the Gandhis, in the Gandhi backyard of Rae Bareli.

The first project would be Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s brainchild of India’s first aviation university in her constituency. Named after her husband and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the National Aviation University (NAU) was conceived to impart training to technical personnel, including engineers, and teach aviation-related skills to its students.

The Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University was announced in a hurry by the UPA II in 2013 and it was passed as the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University Bill, 2013, in the last Monsoon session.

The central university is being set up on a 26 acre plot at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy at Fursatganj. And the Congress’ plan was to get it inaugurated by Rahul Gandhi before the general elections.

But as fate would have it, the project did not progress at the pace the Congress wanted it to and the onus of lighting the inaugural lamp of this prestigious university has gone to the current HRD Minister Irani, who gave Rahul a run for his money in the recent elections.

“It is all likely that the new HRD Minister would inaugurate the university soon. Probably in July,’’ said a source in the know of the project.

The total project outlay for the first five-year period is `202 crore and the Civil Aviation Ministry headed by Ajit Singh had sanctioned `80 crore for it in a hurry. “If the work had progressed as planned, the university would have been functioning by now. But there were so many delays,” said the source.

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