Chunav Manch 2022: Union minister Smriti Irani today dared former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and Priyanka to campaign in Gujarat assembly elections, saying "I openly challenge all the three and also Jija Ji (brother-in-law Robert Vadra) to come and campaign for each assembly seat in Gujarat. Doodh Ka Doodh, Paani Ka Paani Ho Jayega (everything will become crystal clear)"
Replying to questions in India TV's day-long conclave 'Chunav Manch' in Ahmedabad, Smriti Irani said, "It is very easy to make tall claims from outside. If they want to test their political power, let them come here and campaign". Irani reminded that top Congress leaders had derided Gujaratis during the UP assembly poll early this year, and they do not have the courage to face the people of Gujarat.
Irani, who had defeated Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, said, "Two parties are challenging us in Gujarat. Congress has been rejected by the people for years, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is asking people to at least support the 'copycat' and discard the 'original'. The people of Gujarat are wise, they listen to everybody but when the time comes to take a decision, they have been consistently supporting the BJP. This time, too, they will make an informed choice and BJP will form the government."
Irani said, "I just came from Surat, where the AAP office is locked. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was waving alone from a vehicle during his road show. When the former Congress working president (Rahul Gandhi) was addressing a rally, his own party leader refused to translate his speech. What more indications do you want?"
On Rahul's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', Irani said, "I am happy that Narendra Modi has succeeded in bringing those who were flying high in the sky and frequently going abroad, to walk on the ground with common people. Modi has broken their arrogance. The man (Rahul) who was a member of Parliament for 18 years, is now saying that he is trying to understand the nation. To understand Indian culture, traditions and civilization, one birth is not enough."
The Union Minister made fun of Rahul Gandhi performing 'aarti' (prayer) of River Narmada. "If you have real respect for religion, you should not engage in hypocrisy. It is written in 'Vishnu Puran', that 'pakhand' (hypocrisy) is the son of 'Adharm' (Anti-Religion). "
Asked why she posted an upside down picture of Rahul performing aarti on her Twitter handle, Smriti Irani said, "I did this because he was wearing the 'angavastram' with 'OM' written upside down. I just corrected it. In our religion, you cannot wear 'OM' upside down while performing 'aarti'. Even a common man knows that. "
Asked whether she was trying to show Rahul as a 'pishaach' (demon) which is shown upside down in Hindu mythology, Smriti Irani said, "I am not saying, he is a 'pishaach', but I can explain the religious connotation of the word 'pishaach'."
"It is ridiculous that Rahul is chanting 'Jai Narmadey', but he was walking in his Yatra with Medha Patkar, who had opposed the construction of Sardar Sarovar dam. Check the internet. Rahul got three of his party men dismissed for chanting 'Har Har Mahadev'. He named Hindus as 'saffron terrorists'. Today he is performing 'aarti'. This Yatra is not for 'Bharat Jodo', this yatra is for his own benefit."
Smriti Irani lashed out at AAP Gujarat chief Gopal Italia for making a remark against Narendra Modi's 100-year-old mother Hiraba by saying she was doing drama. "Hiraba was never in politics. She waches her son only on TV, never goes to meet her son, but that leader abused her."
On Gujarat Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry's remark that the people of Gujarat will show Narendra Modi his 'auqaat' (stature), Smriti Irani said, "Using words like 'auqaat' smacks of political arrogance. He used such a word against the nation's prime minister. Let them come (in political arena) and fight."