KOLKATA: Union minister Smriti Irani, who defeated former Congress president and three-term Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi in the last Lok Sabha elections, said she saw there "some people picking up grain from mud to eat" in 2014.
She said the number of votes she got as runner up candidate in 2014 was a sign to her that the people in Amethi needed help.
"I don't find it funny when it comes to Amethi. I saw some people picking up grains from mud to eat in Amethi in 2014," said Irani on Saturday, talking of her experiences as Lok Sabha candidate for the seat she had been tending since 2014 despite having lost it then.
"When people go without food and you, as a political leader stand on their shoulders and become prime minister, it is not an aspect I take comfort in," she said during a question-answer session at a function held here for the distribution of Devi Award, instituted by the New Indian Express group in collaboration with the ASSOCHAM.
Irani was asked for her reasons behind winning from Amethi despite having lost from there five years ago.
Attributing her victory to the signs she got by over three lakh votes that she secured in Amethi in 2014 elections, Irani said, "The number of votes I polled in 2014 was a sign for me that people needed help. I did not want to leave them alone," she said.
"I did not stay back to win, I stayed back to keep my word," she said, adding, "I won possibly because in five years I never treated Amethi citizens as my vote bank.
I actually associated myself with them either as a colleague or a family member. She said she feels passionate about finding solutions to the challenges faced by 25 lakh citizens of Amethi.
Stating this is how she believes in doing politics, Irani said she stayed and was in touch with people of the constituency for five years despite there was no guarantee that she would get the ticket again in 2019.
Asked to coin a catchy slogan on the lines of Mamata Banerjee's 'Maa Mati Manush' to woo the people of Bengal where the BJP has made major inroads, Irani said "a slogan is given by the party".
"I like the fact that you are hunting for headlines but this evening will not be about Smriti Irani but the ladies who will come upon the stage, we will leave the political potshots for another platform," she said.