ANI Photo | “Why is Gandhi family allowing it…?”: Smriti Irani criticises Rahul Gandhi on North-South divide debate

Amid an ongoing North-South divide debate, Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP from Amethi, Smriti Irani, criticised Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and the Gandhi family’s “stance” on the matter and questioned the motives behind such a debate in the country.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Smriti Irani countered the claims, pointing out that the BJP has more Members of Parliament in the southern region compared to the Congress.
“BJP has more MPs in South as compared to Congress. That’s the political reality. What are they trying to do, and why is the Gandhi family allowing it?” Irani said.
“I think I know; Rahul Gandhi himself has said it. He went to Wayanad and said that the people of Amethi didn’t completely accept him because they didn’t have the intellectual capacity for that. This is Rahul Gandhi’s statement that they (the people of Ameti) didn’t understand him… He loves his present constituency because people are very well-informed there,” she added.
She expressed her disappointment on how a constituency (Amethi) that played a pivotal role in the Gandhi family’s political legacy was seemingly disregarded by the Congress MP.
“That’s a place that gave your family a four-decade legacy to rule the country and you go to a new constituency and you show such disrespect to your legacy and then you’re talking about the North-South divide,” she added.
“I was Minister of Education when I released a book on poet Thiruvalluvar. I’m not from a Tamil-speaking… My mother can speak Telugu and Malayalam. The issue is, do I have to be born in Tamil Nadu to have a reverence for Tiruvalluvar or to have an interest in Sangam Literature. Do you value Rabindranath Tagore less? He’s not the bard of Bengal. He’s the poet of India,” she added.
Speaking on the Sanatan Dharma controversy, Irani criticised the DMK for endorsing the divisive discourse, stating that the controversy found traction within only the political organisation rather than gaining widespread societal support.
“Any conscientious Indian will not support this. It found traction in a political organisation called the DMK, not in society at large. There was a rage but there was no support for it,” Smriti Irani said.
Irani further asserted that the BJP has always respected religious sentiments without demeaning any faith.
“And why is it that for them to compete with Modi, they have to denigrate my religion? We never denigrated anybody or demeaned anybody’s religion,” she said

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