Smriti Irani gets emotional while recalling PM Modi's 'sister' remark

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New Delhi, Aug 10: Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday became emotional while recalling the moment when Narendra Modi called her his younger sister at an election rally in Amethi ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

Modi, who became the prime minister after the BJP's thumping win in the elections, said he had great faith on his sister Irani who contested on the BJP's ticket from Amethi, a stronghold of the Gandhi family. Irani lost to sitting MP Rahul Gandhi from Amethi but not without giving a fight.

Speaking at the India Today Woman Summit, Irani said it was a high point of her life when Modi called her his 'chhoti behen' (little sister). She also said she would be ready if the prime minister took away her ministry but would always cherish his blessings.

Irani, a Rajya Sabha MP, said she did not expect Modi to be emotionally expressive at that rally in Amethi. She said it took a lot of Modi to publicly acknowledge her as his sister for the man is not known for emotional expressions. She also said the prime minister knew who put in real work in the government and who flattered him.

Irani said she will reply to questions on her educational qualification in court

Modi called Irani his sister at a time when Priyanka Gandhi, the sister of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, was intensely campaigning for him and Sonia Gandhi in their respective constituencies. Political observers felt Modi's expression was to counter the family appeal of the Congress.

Also replying to a question about her educational qualification which caused a controversy after the Modi government took over, Irani claimed she had a degree from Yale University, USA, in leadership programme. She said she had once sold cosmetics for Rs 200 at Janpath and yet could become a cabinet minister.

On a query on having two different educational qualifications in the 2004 and 2014 elction affidavits, Irani said she would reply to the matter in the court if a plea was filed.

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