Amethi, Sep 20: Union Minister Smriti Irani on Sunday dared Rahul Gandhi to send her to jail, a day after the Congress served a legal notice on her over her land grab allegations against the Rajiv Gandhi Trust, and vowed to speak for the people of Amethi.
Irani, who lost to Rahul in his home turf here in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, said "some persons get disturbed" by her visits here and asserted that she would not be cowed down by any legal notices. "Some persons get disturbed with my Amethi visits," said the HRD Minister, in an apparent reference to the Congress Vice President.
"If Congress or Rahul Gandhi consider the women of this country 'abla' (weak), they should forget it. I am not the one to get afraid with this and will continue to raise Amethi's voice.
"If Rahul or Congress have the courage then let them put me behind the bars. I will not remain silent. My relationship with Amethi is not that of elections," the BJP leader said addressing a gathering after distributing saplings at Shivdulari Mahila Mahavidyalaya at Gungvaj village here.
The Uttar Pradesh unit of Congress served the legal notice to her in Delhi for alleging that the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust had grabbed land of farmers in Amethi, terming it as "false and malicious".
Asking the Union Minister to cease and desist from making any such imputations against the party, Congress said it will have "no option" but to pursue appropriate legal remedies, both civil and criminal, if she failed to do so.
"Yesterday, an advocate came to my Delhi residence when I was busy in a meeting. He has given a notice that he will take legal action against me if I make any comment against Rahul Gandhi or the Nehru-Gandhi family in Amethi," Irani said.
A few banners were put up at the programme site against Rahul, the Amethi MP, but they were removed soon.
Meanwhile, soon after Irani concluded her speech, around 150 Siksha Mitras(contractual teachers) sitting in the gathering started raising slogans.
The minister assured from the dais that she had requested the state government to provide details related to Siksha Mitras to the Centre. Once the details are received, the Centre would take appropriate step, she said.
"Till the state government sends the report, we are not in a position to do anything on this issue. I can only say that I will try my level best to protect the interests of Siksha Mitras," she said.
However, even after the assurance, the Siksha Mitras gheraoed the minister when she came down from the dais.
Around 1.72 lakh Siksha Mitras in Uttar Pradesh have been agitating since their job regularisation was quashed by the high court.