In the first interview after the BJP's defeat in Assembly elections of December in three states, Smriti Irani spoke to MyNation's editor-in-chief Abhijit Majumder on a host of issues including her style of functioning as an administrator and Congress president Rahul Gandhi's home turf Amethi
New Delhi: From cleaning tables at McDonald's to becoming one of the biggest television stars to being the youngest Cabinet minister in the Narendra Modi government, she has walked through a hundred storms. Which is why, perhaps, the BJP’s three big defeats in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan has not dimmed her optimism for the 2019 general elections a bit, or blunted her famous combativeness.
In the first interview after the December Assembly elections defeat in three states, Union textiles minister Smriti Irani told MyNation that this performance would have no bearing on 2019 general elections, which would be a mandate on what the Modi Sarkar had delivered to the nation.
“While we accept there are three states where we could not form the government, one conveniently forgets the number of states where we still serve,” she said. “Brand Modi comes to be tested even in a municipal election. The true test of what we have done will be in 2019. While I feel every election since 2014 has been hailed as THE test and goalposts have been shifted, in 2019 we will go to the people and tell them what we have done working hard for five years and ask them to give us five more years.”
Watch the full interview here:
Irani spoke on her party’s growing popularity in Amethi, a Gandhi bastion for decades where she had challenged Congress president Rahul Gandhi in 2014. Campaigning for just 20 days, she had given Gandhi a scare by drastically narrowing the gap.
This time Amethi is likely to witness the big fight between them again. Only, she claims that the BJP is a lot more prepared now.
In 2014, I went for just 20 days and the margin came down drastically. We built on that. Since 2014, every Assembly election, local election Rahul Gandhi has lost. For the first time in history, we won four of the five Assembly seats in that Lok Sabha constituency,” she said. “The truth about Amethi came to the fore in 2014. Before that, a rosy picture was painted that Amethi and Rae Bareilly were heavens on earth. That everything possible in terms of development has been done. Slowly, the truth peeled off, and the nation was flabbergasted.”
Has controversy after controversy made Smriti less combative and outspoken?
“A pragmatic politician doesn’t take things head-on. I was naïve enough to take things head-on, And I’m very proud of it. Because we were not voted in to be part of the status quo. We were voted in so that we can challenge it and set things right,” she said.
In course of the freewheeling interview at her Tughlaq Crescent residence, she touched on Modi government’s schemes, the vikas (development) versus Hindutva debate, how she felt on being shifted out of HRD and I&B ministries and a lot more.
“Modi was the unlikeliest of PM candidates, Lutyens Delhi said it will never happen. It did happen. He stayed and served the country irrespective of whatever negative narrative was spun around him. And he will again win in 2019,” she asserted.
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Last Updated Dec 29, 2018, 5:50 PM IST