SP-BSP alliance in UP has no respect for Rahul Gandhi, says Smriti Irani

The talk that the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh is not willing to spare more than the two seats — Amethi and Rae Bareli – to the Congress shows the alliance has “no respect” for Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Smriti Irani told ET.

Congress party leaders had plastered Amethi with posters of Gandhi proclaiming him as the next PM; the Congress chief was also supposed to visit a temple in Amethi and do a brief foot march.

“I only wish to ask if this slogan (Rahul as PM) is acceptable to the Mahagathbandhan? The very fact that this is not acceptable to Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati or Mamata Bannerjee means the poor gentleman who is putting up the posters does not realise the reality of the leadership he is working with. That leader is not acceptable to the Mahagathbandhan, let alone the nation,” Irani said.

Irani was on a day-long visit to Amethi on Friday, in what was expected to be an interesting face-off with the Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi, but the latter put off his visit to be in Parliament.

“In 2014, BSP, SP, Congress and AAP all got together in Amethi. Still we fought a close election in 20 days. It was a hidden alliance then. They got together in Amethi to fight one woman, who someone in the Congress said ‘Smriti, Who?’ So that ‘Smriti, Who’ was responsible for all this diggajs (tall leaders) to get together,” Irani said.

Congress believes that the prospect of an alliance in UP is expected to make things tougher for the BJP in the state this time.

Irani, however, said it would not make any difference. “We have a gentleman called Amit Shah, and we will fight not just constituency to constituency, but booth to booth. It is significant for the people to see that Modi ek taraf, aur baaki sab ek taraf — that means Modi sab pe bhaari padh raha hai (people will see that Modi is one side and the rest are all on the other, hence Modi is outweighing everyone). People of UP will be betting upon a winning candidate, which is Modi,” said Irani.


Abha Boyal

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