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"Those who used to capture booths lost to ordinary party worker": Smriti Irani attacks Gandhi family

New Delhi: Launching a scathing attack on the Congress party and the Gandhi family, Union Minister Smriti Irani alleged that the party captured polling booths during elections including in the family bastion seat of Amethi, on multiple occasions in the past to exert its dominance in the region.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said that the party couldn't digest when an ordinary party worker defeated them and ended their long stint in Amethi.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Smriti Irani said, "Why it (Amethi) hurts them so much, why they say that Smriti Irani has no 'aukaat' (status) because those who used to loot booths lost to an ordinary party worker."

She alleged that "one of the Gandhi siblings" (Rahul or Priyanka Gandhi) in the late 1990s told a senior journalist by identifying "these (party workers) capture the booths for us."

"You can check a New York Times story, which says when Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi contested against Rajiv Gandhi from Amethi, the Congress party captured 97 booths," Irani further alleged.

The BJP leader further stressed that former UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav allegedly claimed "transferring 1,00,000 votes" in favour of Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 elections.

"Mulayam Singh Yadav on record, said in an interview that Sonia Gandhi in 2014 had requested him to help his son (Rahul Gandhi) in Amethi by transferring 1,00,000 votes," she alleged.

Notably, Smriti Irani in 2019, ended the Gandhi family's stint in the Amethi constituency by defeating Rahul Gandhi from the seat.

Seeking re-election from the seat, Irani is pitted against Congress candidate Kishori Lal Sharma, a long-time loyalist of the Gandhi family. The Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) has also fielded Nanhe Singh Chauhan from the seat.

Speaking further, the BJP leader slammed the Congress party over their treatment of Maneka Gandhi, alleging that she was "stripped and assaulted" when she contested against Rajiv Gandhi from Amethi.

Maneka Gandhi, the wife of late Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi was reportedly keen on contesting from her husband's seat Amethi after his death. In 1984, she contested from the seat against Rajiv Gandhi in 1984. However, she lost by a huge margin and ended up losing her deposit.

"When Maneka Gandhi contested against the Gandhi family from here (Amethi)...a young widow with a young child...literally she is stripped, she is assaulted. And the message goes in the region, that if we didn't leave her, how will we spare you?" Irani said.

"This whole subset, that is so enamoured by the giggling Gandhis, they don't realize the muck, violence, torture, they are capable of. Beneath that sheen, is so much of dirt," she added.

Smriti Irani further said, "Many people don't understand the genuine importance of this region (Amethi). They talk about the bastion. On the bastion, where they (Gandhi family) insulted their own daughter-in-law, will they spare other people's daughter and daughter-in-law."

She also attacked the Gandhi family and Rahul Gandhi for not announcing his candidature from Raebareli when he contested from Wayanad.

Being asked if Rahul Gandhi could win from Raebareli, Smriti Irani said, "If he had an opportunity of only winning Raebareli, would he have filed from Wayanad?

Rahul Gandhi, the incumbent MP from Wayanad, contested from the seat seeking his second term from the seat. The polling was held in the second phase on April 26.

He will also be contesting from Rae Bareli, the erstwhile constituency of her mother. Sonia Gandhi held the seat for four consecutive terms since 2004, before she took the Rajya Sabha route to the Parliament this year.

Being asked why Irani thinks Priyanka Gandhi didn't contest from Amethi, she said, "Because, she would lose. And she didn't want to begin her career with a loss. Now she says she is fighting this I don't understand. If I was so bad, then you could have contested."

The election on both Amethi and Rae Bareli will be held on May 20 in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections. The 80 seats of Uttar Pradesh are being polled across the seven phases of Lok Sabha elections. The counting of votes is scheduled on June 4.

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