Congress attacks Smriti Irani over degree claims

Irani retaliated by saying that the more the Congress insults her, the harder she will work against it.

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday launched a scathing attack on Union minister Smriti Irani over her educational qualification calling her a “serial liar” and released a parody song to mock the changing affidavits on educational degrees filed in successive elections by Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi challenger. Ms Irani retaliated by saying that the more the Congress insults her, the harder she will work against it.

The Congress targeted Ms Irani after the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and Union textiles minister disclosed in her nomination affidavit for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat that she had not completed her graduation. Ms Irani had made contradictory claims in her affidavit for elections in 2004, 2011 and 2014.

Seeking her resignation, the Congress claimed on Friday that Ms Irani had “falsified records” about her educational qualifications.

“A new serial is coming, ‘Kyunki Mantri Bhi Kabhi Graduate Thi’,” Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said at a press conference, twisting the name of Ms Irani’s hugely popular TV serial Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahoo Thi dating back to 2000-2008.

“Its opening line will be ‘Qualifications ke bhi roop badalte hain, naye-naye sanche mein dhalte hain, ekdegree aati hai, ek degreejaati hai, bante affidavit naye hai’’ (Qualifications keep changing, keep getting new forms, one degree comes, another degree goes, new affidavits keep forming),” she added, partly singing the title song.

The Congress claimed that by submitting contradictory affidavits to the Election Commission, the Union minister “is guilty of offence under Section 125A read with Section 33 of the Representation of People Act, besides sections of the Indian Penal Code.” Section 125A of the Act pertains to penalty for filing false affidavit while Section 33 deals with the nomination and affidavit filing process, Ms Chaturvedi said.

“We have no issue with the fact that Smriti Irani is not a graduate. The issue here is that she has lied repeatedly on oath and to the courts. People of India will see through these lies and give a befitting political reply to a ‘serial liar’,” she said.

Responding to the Congress attack, Ms Irani on Friday said that the Congress has not left a single chance to pass “derogatory” remarks on her in the past five years.

“In the last five years, the Congress leaders did not leave a single chance to insult and pass derogatory remarks about me. I only have one message for them: the more you insult me, the more you attack me, the harder I will work against Congress in Amethi,” she said.

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