AMETHI: Union Minister and senior BJP leader Smriti Irani on Tuesday said that she was glad to hear that the Congress party has accepted her challenge to field Rahul Gandhi from Amethi – her Lok Sabha constituency where she had defeted the former Congress president in 2019 polls. Irani had challenged the former Congress chief to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls from Amethi without taking help from the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party and without going to Wayanad – his current Lok Sabha constituency.

Hitting back at senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Irani told reporters, “I am happy that Jairam Ramesh has accepted my challenge that Rahul Gandhi is ready to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls without the help from Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati. I wish that the CWC (Congress Working Committee) would immediately accept Ramesh’s proposal.”

Calling herself an ordinary BJP worker, Irani said that she awaits a formal announcement from the Congress party in this regard. 

“I once again say, since Jairam Ramesh has said that Rahul Gandhi is ready to accept our challenge, our party workers from Amethi are eagerly waiting… Rahul Gandhi through the CWC should make an announcement (about him contesting the polls from Amethi and not Wayanad),” added Irani, who had defeated Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.


#WATCH | Amethi: On the statement of Congress General Secretary (Communication) Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP from Amethi, Smriti Irani says, “I am happy that Jairam Ramesh has accepted my challenge that Rahul Gandhi without Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati is ready…
— ANI (@ANI) February 20, 2024


Irani, who is in Amethi these days, attacked the Congress party and said that the empty streets that greeted Rahul Gandhi on Monday are a reflection of the people of Amethi’s anger towards the Gandhi family.

Anger In Amethi Against Gandhi Family: Irani

The BJP MP from Amethi spoke to the media on Monday and said, “The anger of the people of Amethi against the Gandhi family is visible. Today, when Rahul Gandhi) arrived, he was welcomed by empty streets. The anger of those who were deprived of development in Amethi has transformed into empty streets for the visit of the Gandhi family.”

Speaking to the media Irani said, “In 2014, Amethi was promised a ‘Badlaav ki Raajneeti’ (politics of change) under our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Hence, Amethi received an investment of Rs 6,523 crore in the Investors Summit held in the national capital.”

“This was not a memorandum of understanding, ‘ye dharatal par implement hua nivesh hai.’ From the period of independence till 2014, when Prime Minister Modi became PM, the small-scale industry in Amethi only received Rs 500 crore in over 60 years,” she said.

“However, in the 10 years of PM Modi’s tenure, Rs 2107 crore was given to the same small-scale industry sector in Amethi so that over one lakh beneficiaries could start their small-scale industries,” said Irani.

Dare Rahul To Contest From Amethi Alone: Irani

Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Irani said, “Perhaps this is also the reason why the people of Amethi remained unavailable to welcome the people who did not serve Amethi well.”

“The people of Amethi also haven’t forgotten that this particular person who had mentioned Amethi and said that ‘yaha ke logo ki samjh theek nahi hai’. This is the reason why the people of this constituency are angry,” she said.

“The Ram Bhakts of Amethi are also angered with the fact that the former MP of Amethi and the Gandhi family rejected the invitation for Ram Lalla’s life Pran Prathistha ceremony,” she stated. “The anger of those who were deprived of development in Amethi has today transformed into empty streets for the visit of the Gandhi family,” said Irani.

Rahul Gandhi arrived in Amethi, the parliamentary seat he represented earlier on Monday, the same day, Smriti Irani began her four-day visit to the Uttar Pradesh town.

Amethi used to be a Congress stronghold in Uttar Pradesh, where Rahul Gandhi lost to Smriti Irani by a margin of around 55,000 votes in the 2019 elections.

The Congress is still undecided on whether Rahul Gandhi will attempt to regain the Congress stronghold, especially since Sonia Gandhi has also left Rae Bareili for the Rajya Sabha.

Rahul Gandhi had won Lok Sabha elections from erstwhile Nehru-Gandhi family bastion Amethi three times until the 2019 general elections when he faced defeat from Smriti Irani. Rahul Gandhi, however, won from Wayanad in Kerala, the second seat he contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Rahul Gandhi reached Amethi on Monday as part of his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, the campaign kicked off by him on January 14 from Thoubal in Manipur in the run-up to the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Although it is improbable that the two leaders come face-to-face with each other, the coincidence proceeds ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in Amethi and beyond.