The row over Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications is back in the limelight after the Union Textile Minister filed her affidavit as a candidate from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. According to the affidavit filed by her in the 2014 general elections, she claimed to complete her graduation in 1996 and now in 2019 in a fresh affidavit, she accepted that she is only 12th standard qualified and that she did not complete her three-year degree course. It seems that the academic career of the Union Minister is in reverse gear.
After a fresh affidavit was filed by Smriti Irani, the Congress on Friday called the Union Minister a “serial liar” and said that she should be disqualified from contesting the polls. The party alleged that she had falsified records of her educational qualification and submitted contradictory affidavits to the Election Commission. Smriti Irani hit back at the Congress and said, “No matter what you say, the more you harass me, the harder I will work in Amethi.” Smriti Irani has been fielded against Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi also accused Smriti Irani of misusing her influence and power as the Union Minister. She said, “Union Minister Smriti Irani, who had been rubbishing Opposition’s claim that she is not a graduate, on Thursday accepted that she enrolled for an undergraduate course in Delhi University, but did not complete it.” She said that Smriti Irani should be disqualified. “We have no issue with the fact that Smriti Irani is not a graduate. The issue here is that she has lied repeatedly on oath and to the courts. People of India will see through these lies and give a befitting political reply to a ‘serial liar’,” said Priyanka Chaturvedi, accusing her of being guilty of an offence under Section 125A and Section 33 of the Representation of Peoples Act. In her affidavit filed during her nomination, Smriti Irani has submitted that she passed her secondary school examination in 1991 and senior secondary in 1993. She said that she had not completed her Bachelor of Commerce (Part-I) from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning in 1994.
Mumbai Women Congress president Dr. Ajanta Yadav told Afternoon Voice, “During 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Smriti Irani had submitted fake educational qualification certificates. However, it has been revealed that she has only passed B.Com 1st year and she is not a degree holder. She lacked knowledge but still was appointed as the Minister of Human Resource Development. She had taken the wrong decision; otherwise, Rohit Vemula would have been saved.”
“The decisions taken by her as the HRD Minister did not benefit the nation. After everyone raised objections against her, she was removed and made the Textile Minister. Her language is abusive. What work had she done for the welfare of women and girls education?” Yadav asked.
It is noteworthy that in 2014, Smriti Irani fought an election against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi constituency, but lost. In spite of this, she became a Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi cabinet and an important Human Resource Development Ministry was given to her. The opposition parties including Congress raised the issue, but PM Modi did not care. She continued as the HRD minister. Later on, in a cabinet reshuffling, the Human Resource Development Ministry was taken from her and Prakash Javdekar was made HRD minister of state. After this, Prakash Javdekar was promoted as the Cabinet Minister. On the other hand, Smriti Irani got Textile, and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
BJP MLA Smita Wagh said, “Politics doesn’t work on degree. It is not necessary that a person will deliver in politics if he is well educated. Congress is politicising Smriti Irani’s educational background as they are worried about Rahul Gandhi’s defeat.”