Visiting Amethi, Smriti Irani Aims A Kamal Nath Barb At Rahul Gandhi

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Smriti Irani hopes to win Amethi in the next Lok Sabha election.

New Delhi:

Union Minister Smriti Irani today questioned Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's silence on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's recent declaration that the local population will be prioritised over migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for jobs in state industries.

"Why was Rahul silent when Kamal Nath spoke against people from UP and Bihar working in that state? How will he look into the eyes of Amethi residents now?" she said at a meet held in Amethi, which happens to be Mr Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency.

Soon after being sworn in as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Nath had announced a new state policy under which industries availing investment incentives will need to give 70% employment to the local youth. "People from other states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and come to work in a lot of industries set up here. I do not want to criticise them, but the youth of Madhya Pradesh are deprived (of jobs)," he had said.

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Although the Congress president was expected to visit Amethi today, he postponed it by a few weeks. "My two-day trip to Amethi that had to begin from today has been postponed to January 22-23. I am sorry for the inconvenience caused by this delay," he said in a Facebook post. He was in the Lok Sabha until evening, debating the Rafale fighter jet deal with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Ms Irani also accused the Congress of creating hurdles in the legal battle for the Ram temple during her daylong visit to Amethi. "The Congress should not do politics through its lawyers on the Ram temple issue, which is matter of faith for the people. Its leaders, as lawyers, are creating hurdles in court. Ram Bhakts should ask the party whether its leader wore the janeu (sacred thread) only for the polls to three states," she said.

She also targeted Mr Gandhi for postponing his visit, remarking that anybody who doesn't visit his constituency on time cannot be expected to give timely solutions to people's problems.

Although the Union Minister was defeated by Mr Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, she kept visiting the constituency in an effort to cultivate votes for the next contest. Today, she even arranged for a superfast train — the Pratapgarh-Bhopal Express — to stop at a station located 31 km from Amethi.

(With inputs from PTI)

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