Union minister Smriti Irani Saturday rejected as “malicious” the Congress’ allegation that her daughter ran an illegal bar in Goa, and said the college student was targeted because of her mother’s vocal stand on the Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s “Rs 5,000-crore loot” in the National Herald case.
In a hard-hitting press conference here, Irani said the Congress “assassinated” and “publicly mutilated” her daughter Zoish’s character, and dared the Opposition party to show proof of any wrongdoing on part of the 18-year-old. The ministry for women and child development asked if the purported notices shown by Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Pawan Khera at a press conference bear her daughter’s name. Irani said her daughter is a first-year college student and does not run any bar.
She alleged that the Congress held the press conference to target her daughter at the behest of the Gandhi family. “My daughter’s fault is that her mother holds a press conference on the loot of Rs 5,000 crore by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Her fault is that her mother fought against Rahul Gandhi in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” the MP said.
She dared Rahul Gandhi to fight from Amethi Lok Sabha seat again in 2024, and vowed she will make him bite the dust again. This is her promise as a BJP worker and the mother an an 18-year-old, she said. Irani had defeated the former Congress president in Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “I will seek answers in the court of law and the court of people,” she said over the allegations.
The Congress on Saturday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack Irani from the Union Cabinet, alleging that an “illegal bar” was being run in Goa by her daughter. Noting that it is a “very serious issue”, the Congress also shared a copy of the show cause notice given to the bar, and said the excise official who served it is reportedly being transferred under pressure from the authorities. Hitting back, Irani said Khera flashed documents to say the bar was given a show-cause notice and asked if the papers had Zoish’s name. The BJP has been attacking the Gandhi family for their alleged role in the National Herald case.
The Enforcement Directorate has questioned both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, drawing strong protests from the opposition party. The Congress has dismissed the allegations as vendetta and intimidatory tactics by the government.