Union Minister Smriti Irani today hit out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for his attack on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government over a food park project in his constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, saying he had ignored it for the last 10 years.
“The food park was announced in 2010, when the Congress government was there (at the Centre). Eight extensions were sought for the project as it was not considered viable. But did the MP take even eight steps to make the project a reality,” Smriti Irani said without naming Rahul Gandhi.
Smriti Irani further charged that the foundation stone laying programme for the project was organised in 2013 to “mislead” the people.
Irani said that Amethi faces a slew of civic problems, a charge she had repeatedly harped on during the Lok Sabha poll campaign in 2014, when she had tried unsuccessfully to wrest the pocket borough of the Congress Vice President’s family.
“Was the MP not aware then that the project was not viable,” she added.
Without mentioning Gandhi by name, Irani kept up her tirade, saying that “an MP has hit out at the Narendra Modi government… As a person who stayed out of the country for 56 days, he is not aware how the change is also touching Amethi”.
She charged that the Congress plays the sympathy card to win votes but has ignored the interests of Amethi even as she listed out some of the developmental projects initiated in the area after the NDA government came to power.
“I had raised this issue during campaigning and I am again raising it today. Let them answer. They were in power for 10 years and did several things in their interest after joining hands with Samajwadi Party. But why did they not do any work for Amethi,” she said.
Smriti Irani said it was after her government came to power that work on the Banda to Ambedkar Nagar highway, which was languishing for years, kicked off and 12-km of road length was being laid every day.
She further said that Rs 40 crore was sanctioned after she met the Railway Minister to seek the doubling of rail tracks between Amethi and Rae Bareli.
She also questioned the absence of Rahul in his constituency when a blaze in Jamo block of Amethi engulfed about 60 homes. It was Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers who had offered aid to the victims, she said.
She added that her party also helped retail shops start business in Barolia in the larger interest of the people.