Taking on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for alleging that BJP government had cancelled a food park in his Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday sought to know from him why such an unviable project was rushed through under the previous Congress regime.Taking pot shots at the Gandhi scion over his earlier statement, asking her to bring back the food park to his parliamentary constituency Amethi, the Human Resources Development minister said it was perhaps for the first time in the history of democracy that a sitting MP was asking a lost candidate to help him. Irani had contested the Lok Sabha polls from Amethi on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket but lost to Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice president.
She also dared the Congress leader to come and join her on stage when she returns on May 26 to Amethi to distribute insurance papers to 5,000 beneficiaries. She said this would be a good way to show that Gandhi was serious about the development of Amethi. Asked what were her priorities for the VIP constituency, the minister said: " 'Bijli, paani, sadak' (electricity, water and roads) are major problem areas here."Accusing the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress of an unholy nexus to serve political ends, Irani said the two parties should try and see that people of this area do not suffer for these issues.
Earlier, when her motorcade reached Mohanganj square, her supporters came to blows with the Congress workers. On a day-long visit to Amethi, Irani, accompanied by union minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Baliyan met workers, farmers and party supporters.She visited the house of a farmer in village Fattepur of Tiloi, who died of shock after unseasonal rains and hailstorm damaged his crops. After meeting the bereaved family, the minister accused the Akhilesh Yadav government of fudging the number of farmers' deaths. She also said that on May 26, insurance papers would be given to 5,000 people in every assembly segment of Amethi. The insurance scheme was recently launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to arrive in Amethi for two days on May 18.