LS POLLS: SIDELIGHTS: "Priyanka talks more about me and less about her husband," says Irani

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NEW DELHI: Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani on Monday teased Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary in charge of Congress campaign in eastern UP, by saying that the latter was “speaking more about me, and less about her husband.”

“Five years ago, she did not know my name. Now, she keeps taking my name more and her husband’s name less,” the minister said. Smriti Irani is contesting the Amethi seat as BJP nominee against Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi. Obviously, the hint was that Priyanka Gandhi was shying away from mentioning her husband Robert Vadra’s name. 

Vadra is a controversial figure and is allegedly at the centre of several real estate scams, like getting the Huda-led Congress government to allot government land for his real estate firm for damn cheap rates. Priyanka hardly ever made a reference to her husband after she was made party general secretary some three months ago.

The campaign scene is spiced up with several teasing comments in recent days. For instance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a TV interview in the midst of the poll campaign that his arch political rival, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, sent him kurtas and rasagollas every festival season as gifts. 

An embarrassed chief minister, who did this quietly, admitted that she gave him these, but stressed that Bengal would not give him or his party any vote. She also hastened to add that she would from now on send Modi “rasogollas made of matti (earth).” Not to be outdone, Modi welcomed it, saying he would be blessed if he was given Bengal’s matti which he considered “holy”.

The PM also targeted Congress president Rahul Gandhi who called Modi a chor, by way of repeating a slogan in election campaign after election campaign, “Chowkidar chor hai.” His reference was to Modi’s claim of being the chowkidar of the nation, who would not allow anyone to loot its wealth, and also to the Rafale fighter jet deal in which Anil Ambani of the Reliance group was officially made the agent for the French aviation company. 

The PM hit back two days ago by saying, “Your father was Bhrashtachari number one,” (number-one corrupt man),” the reference being to the Bofors guns deal during the term when Rajiv Gandhi was PM, and an Italian intermediary allegedly stood as commission agent and took away huge money from India.

Meanwhile, in another shameful incident in Delhi, AAP leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was slapped on his face by someone in front of a large number of his supporters attending a meeting. The man, arrested by cops, said he was not happy with Kejriwal’s performance as CM. –IHN-NN

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