Union minister Smriti Irani, who is the BJP candidate against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, Wednesday said the Congress chief remembers his constituency only once in five years when he has to file his nomination papers for elections. She also accused Gandhi of being insensitive towards the women from poor families in Amethi who have to relieve themselves in the open due to lack of toilets at their houses.
"Rahul Gandhi who lives in palaces does not feel sad about the poor women from his constituency who have to go out in the open for defecation," Irani said while addressing a rally at Patan. Irani said senior Congress leaders would always praise "Rahul Shree" irrespective of the assembly or Lok Sabha elections. "He (Rahul) is such a person who shows up in his own Lok Sabha constituency only once in five years and that too because it is compulsory to file nomination papers from the head office (constituency," she said. Irani further said had filing the poll nominations been not mandatory, Gandhi would not have bothered to visit Amethi even once in five years.
"From what I saw in Amethi, the Congress MP, who is representing the seat for the last 15 years, does not feel sad about the fact that while he lives in big palaces, women from poor families in Amethi had to defecate in the open," Irani said. While houses of Congress leaders were lit by "ghee lamps", the poor women had to search for darkness while relieving themselves in the open out of shame.
"When lights of a vehicle falls on them, they cover their faces so that their families won't have to feel ashamed," she said. The minister said toilets have been built for two lakh families in Amethi for the first time (under the rule of the BJP). Irani lost the general elections to Gandhi in 2014 by a margin of over one lakh votes. In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad constituency in Kerala besides Amethi.
Irani also attacked the Congress over corruption. "If anyone wants to make a comparison on the basis of development, then compare any seat in Gujarat with Amethi, and everything will become clear," the BJP leader said. Irani further said there was time when the entire country would plunge into darkness because of coal not reaching power plants. "And in such a situation, the country looked towards Gujarat where the then chief minister (prime minister Narenra Modi) had ensured that every village gets power and that the houses of the poor are lit up," she added.
(With inputs from agencies.)