Amethi. Union minister Smriti Irani launched a blistering attack against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today and alleged that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation here had not returned land taken from farmers.
Irani was addressing a public meeting in this constituency, seen as a bastion of the Congress, along with BJP president Amit Shah.
“Rahul, who used to talk about relief to farmers, did not return their land taken by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation here,” the Union minister for information and broadcasting and textiles said.
In a broadside against the Congress vice president and Amethi MP, Irani said she wanted to address those who saw Amethi just from the vote bank point of view.
“There is no collector’s office here. If Rahul is hearing me today I want to say that you used to talk about development in the country and abroad. You make a mockery of development in Gujarat,” she said.
Referring to the closure of a cycle factory called Samrat, she said, “… the country was surprised that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, headed by Rahul, which did not do any commercial activities has purchased it. The land should be freed and given back to the farmers.”
Irani had created a stir in 2015 when she accused the top Congress leadership of usurping nearly 65 acres of land acquired from farmers for setting up a manufacturing unit, Samrat Cycle, a project that never materialised.
During the 2014 polls, she said she had gone to a village which had been boycotting elections.
“When I asked villagers why they were doing so, they said they could not meet their leader. Then I told them that Rahul might not have time, but I will be available for you and requested the village head to vote,” she said.
She told reporters yesterday that a former Congress MLA along with 60-70 village pradhans had joined the BJP.
“They were anguished as they had devoted their time to the Congress believing that there would be development in the state under the party, especially under the leadership of Gandhi…But due to neglect and insult of the Congress workers, the party leadership in Amethi is leaving Rahulji,” she alleged.