Sorry, Smriti Irani has no answer on fuel price hike, but predicts Rahul’s political future
Shillong, May 30: We are living in interesting times, at least politically. When top leadership of the Narendra Modi government is refusing to talk about steep hike in petrol and diesel prices in the last two weeks, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have enough time to lambast and tear apart the Congress and the Gandhi family for their "past mistakes".
Union minister Smriti Irani, who never misses an opportunity to attack Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on Tuesday at an event in Shillong, Meghalaya told reporters that the Congress had no chance of coming back to power after the 2019 General Elections. She predicted that Rahul would lose elections from the Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In the 2014 General Elections, Irani fought against Rahul from the Amethi constituency and she was defeated by her rival with a huge margin.
"In Amethi, he (Rahul) lost every Assembly seat, every local election in the past four years. What could be his chances of coming to power at the Centre when he is guaranteed to lose election in his own constituency," the Union textile minister said after attending the convocation ceremony of the National Institute of Fashion Technology in the picturesque capital city of Meghalaya.
She stated that the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress has left behind a 48-year-old legacy of apathy. "This is 48-year-old legacy of apathy of one family versus 48 months of good governance under Prime Minister Modi," Irani added.
The minister said that the current BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, after coming to power, had to handle the scams and cope with the debts incurred by the erstwhile Congress government.
"I would like to remind you that when we came to power and got the opportunity to serve people, the economic condition of the country was poor. The government had to address the financial challenges in every sector, especially pertaining to the scams and debts of the UPA rule," she said.
The NDA government, on the other hand, ensured that the social needs of the people are met with, under all circumstances, she asserted.
The Congress is "frustrated" as the family, which was at the helm of affairs for the past 60 years, has been losing every election over the last four years, Irani said in an apparent dig at the Gandhi family.
"Rahul Gandhi, who did not even open a district collector's office in his constituency, is giving speeches about development," the minister added.
However, when the question on fuel price hike was posed to Irani, she decided to skip direct queries. The minister also did not say anything on the controversial subject of "black money recovery" which the current regime at the Centre promised to unearth after demonetisation.
All she said that her colleagues in the government and party president Amit Shah would offer a "time-bound solution" soon.
The textile minister also alleged that the former Congress government, during its tenure, had neglected the weavers, most of whom hail from the northeastern region.
"The government now pays 75 per cent of the education fees for weavers' family. Every state now has textile manufacturing units, which were set up within two years," she said.
In the last 16 days, till Tuesday, fuel prices were increased on a daily basis causing great troubles to the consumers across the country. Petrol is currently sold at Rs 78.43 per litre in Delhi and Rs 86.24 per litre in Mumbai.
The hike in fuel prices were announced on Tuesday by the government despite a reduction in the price of global crude oil. The hike in prices of fuels have become a major political issue as it came just two days after the Karnataka Assembly elections got over earlier this month. Before the state polls, the Centre did not increase the prices of diesel and petrol for 20 days.