Irani's visit to astrologer raked up in RS

Irani's visit to astrologer raked up in RS

A visit to an astrolger by HRD Minister Smriti Irani was raked up in the Rajya Sabha by a Congress member who said it was "not commensurate" with the job assigned to her but she hit back by saying that she can follow her faith in personal life as per the Constitution.

Congress MP Shantaram Naik said inspite of her educational qualifications being "challenged", Irani had done well as Minister.

However, "I am pained to see you going to an astrologer... it challenges the scientific temperament as encompassed in the Constitution of India," he said while participating in a debate on a bill on School of Planning and Architecture.

"(As a Minister) you don't have a private life. I am pained, you have visited an astrologer, what are you going to tell the students. To go to a fortune teller. The message you have given does not commensurate with the role you have been given," Naik said.

The Minister replied back saying that she did her duty as HRD minister in the spirit of scientific temperament but followed her own faith in her personal life.

Irani said she was "delighted" to comment on Shantaram Naik's remarks.

"While he appreciated on one hand, and on the other side he commented on my educational qualifications.... In a sugar-coated way, Naik had launched a very sharp attack on me," she said.

She underlined that, "As an HRD minister I am working with scientific temperament. But in personal life I am following my own religious faith. The Constitution gives freedom to uphold my religious faith."

Irani said that while she was asked to uphold scientific temperament, "If you remember, my predecessor looked into astrological charts to locate auspicious moment before entering office".

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien also said scientific temperament does not mean that a person does not have religious faith.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also supported Irani saying that the "Constitution permits having individual faith" and also respect for others' faith."

After the legislation was passed, Irani was congratulated by Kurien and some members for passage of three bills related to education sector.

Kurien appeciated the Minister's efforts and said she did a good job as three bills were cleared in a short span.

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