Will Rahul Gandhi take up Smriti Irani’s debate challenge?
Gandhinagar, June 2: These days, politicians are busy daring each other. A few days ago, a fitness challenge went viral on social media; thanks to Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who wanted to make India fit and healthy.
In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had accepted the fitness challenge thrown to him by cricketer Virat Kohli. However, PM Modi is yet to post his exercise video online.
Now, Union minister Smriti Irani dared Congress president Rahul Gandhi (no, not to take part in a fitness challenge) for a debate with any BJP leader to prove his 'fitness' as a skilled orator and politician.
Earlier in April, Rahul had dared PM Modi for a 15-minute debate. In reply to Rahul's challenge, Modi asked the 47-year-old Gandhi scion to speak for at least 15 minutes without paper. Both the challenges thrown by Modi and Rahul respectively did not take place and everyone forgot about them after the Karnataka Assembly elections got over.
Now, we have to wait and see if Rahul will take up the latest challenge of Union textile minister.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has said this. Rahul Gandhi should come forward and speak on any issue. He can speak in Parliament or in front of us," Irani said in Surat, Gujarat on Friday, when asked by reporters about the Congress chief's attacks on Modi on various issues through tweets.
"If not in Parliament, he can come for a debate on a TV channel. Even our national president (Amit Shah) can take part in that. He (Rahul) is free to choose any of our party workers. We are ready for debate, provided he doesn't carry a book or a piece of paper with him," Irani said.
During her Surat visit, the union textile minister spoke about achievements of the Modi government in the last four years.
When asked about the rising fuel prices, Irani blamed the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for the commoners' woes.
The minister said, "Not just India, but the entire world is affected by the situation in oil-producing countries and decisions of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries). The debt of our country, inherited from the UPA rule, is also a big challenge for us."
A few days ago, at an event in Shillong, Meghalaya, Irani ducked the question on hike in fuel prices but attacked the Congress and Rahul. She said that the Congress had no chance of coming back to power at the Centre in 2019.
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.
However, when the question on fuel price hike was posed to Irani in Shillong, 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 Shah would offer a "time-bound solution" soon.