Lok Sabha Election 2024: Smriti Irani said whoever Congress fields in Amethi will be defeated.

New Delhi:

Union minister Smriti Irani, who unseated Congress’s Rahul Gandhi from his family turf Amethi in 2019, scoffed at the party’s delay in naming its candidate from the constituency. The minister, who filed her nomination today to defend the VIP constituency of Uttar Pradesh, also declared that no matter whom the Congress fields, the candidate will lose.

“I think the Congress has clearly its role cut out for itself in Amethi. The leadership is aware that this is a losing seat for them because if they were so confident of their victory, they would have announced their candidate by now,” she told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

Speculation has been sky-high about the Congress candidates for Amethi and Raebareli — vacated recently by Sonia Gandhi who moved onto Rajya Sabha — especially after the election in Kerala took place on April 26. Mr Gandhi’s constituency, Wayanad, is located in the state and there was a buzz that the Congress would announce its candidate once the Kerala polls were over.

There is expectation among the Congress’s rank and file that Mr Gandhi would make an attempt to win back Amethi while his sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, would step into her mother’s shoes in Raebareli. There are those, though, who expect the party might flip the constituencies.

Asked whom she would prefer as opponent between Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Ms Irani said, “Couldn’t care less. Whoever comes will be defeated surely, because both these entities have been absentee politicians from the area. One has been an MP, missing for 15 years. I have worked for five years, two years of which were corona,” she said.

Talking about the tough time the constituency had passed through during the pandemic, she said, “When you talk about corona, people wonder why they (the Gandhis) were not around to help anyone in Amethi and Raebareli for that matter”.

The people, she added, “realise if it was not for Prime Minister’s benevolence in ensuring every citizen gets free ration, many people would have faced much difficulty”.

“They also understand that if not Prime Minister Modi, nobody would have ensured that three vaccines were made available to anyone,” she added.