NEW DELHI: A day after the Congress served a legal notice on Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani over her land grab allegations against the Rajiv Gandhi Trust, she dared the grand old party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi in his home turf Amethi to send her to jail.
Irani, who fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi against Rahul Gandhi, said that some persons get disturbed by her visits to Amethi and asserted that she would not be cowed down by legal notices.
“If Congress or Rahul Gandhi consider the women of this country abla (weak), they should forget it. I am not the one to get afraid with this and will continue to raise Amethi’s voice. If Rahul or Congress have the courage, then let them put me behind bars. I will not remain silent. My relationship with Amethi is not that of elections,” said the Union Minister while addressing a gathering at a village in Amethi on Sunday.
Irani said, “Yesterday, an advocate came to my Delhi residence when I was busy in a meeting. He has given a notice that he will take legal action against me if I make any comment against Rahul Gandhi or the Nehru-Gandhi family in Amethi.” Astonished over the legal notice by Congress, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad too said that due reply will be given to the notice and it will further expose Congress weaknesses. “Smriti ji is capable of responding to the notice,” he said during a press conference at the BJP headquarters in Delhi.
On Saturday, the Uttar Pradesh unit of Congress had served the legal notice to the minister in Delhi over her allegation that the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust had grabbed land of farmers in Amethi. The Congress said that they had no option but to pursue appropriate legal remedies, both civil and criminal, if she failed to do so. It temed Irani’s allegations ‘false and malicious.’
A few banners were put up at Irani’s programme venue against Rahul Gandhi, the Amethi MP, but they were removed soon. Meanwhile, soon after Irani concluded her speech, around 150 Siksha Mitras (contractual teachers) in the gathering started raising slogans. The minister assured from the dais that she had requested the state government to provide details related to Siksha Mitras to the Centre.
Once the details are received, the Centre would take appropriate step, she said. “Till the state government sends the report, we are not in a position to do anything on this issue. I can only say that I will try my level best to protect the interests of Siksha Mitras,” she said. But, the Siksha Mitras gheraoed her when she came down from the dais. Around 1.72 lakh Siksha Mitras in UP have been agitating since their job regularisation was quashed by the court.