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Irani questions silence of Cong on Azam Khan's jibe

Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani. PTI File photo

Questioning the silence of the Congress and its allies on SP leader Azam Khan's alleged "underwear" jibe against his BJP rival from Rampur Lok Sabha seat Jaya Prada, Union minister Smriti Irani on Monday said it was a clear indication that those connected with the UPA were disrespectful towards women.

"There is silence on the part of the Congress, its allies and other such political parties on the derogatory comments of Azam Khan...there has not been any opposition to it nor any condemnation...this proves that those in the UPA are disrespectful towards women," she told reporters here.

Without naming Jaya Prada, Khan had told an election rally in Rampur, "You were represented (in the Lok Sabha by her) for 10 years. People of Rampur, people of Uttar Pradesh and people of India, it took you 17 years to understand her reality. But I could recognise it in 17 days that she wears a khaki underwear."

Jaya Prada had represented Rampur twice in the Lok Sabha after winning the elections in 2004 and 2009 as a Samajwadi Party (SP) leader. Later, she was expelled from the party, along with Amar Singh, following differences with SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Last month, the actor-turned-politician joined the BJP and has been nominated as the saffron party's candidate against Khan from Rampur.

Irani, the Union textiles minister who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, earlier held election meetings in Hatva, Saudana and Mavai villages, where she said those who had not seen poverty would never know its pain.

"(Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji is the son of a poor family. He has lived the life of a poor man...that is why he got toilets built for two lakh families in Amethi," she said at one of the poll meetings.

In keeping with his "sabka sath, sabka vikas" slogan, the prime minister had brought a number of schemes for the poor, the BJP leader said.

Irani alleged that Gandhi was not seen in Amethi after the 2014 parliamentary polls, adding that in the last five years, the Congress chief had never raised the issues concerning his own constituency in the Lok Sabha.

She said the dynasts ("naamdar") think that the people of Amethi will keep standing before them with their hands stretched out and the youth will remain jobless.

"I am a woman coming from a common family. I had taken a vow in 2014 which I have fulfilled...now the time has come for you all to give your blessings to Modiji and bid a farewell to the missing MP of Amethi," the BJP leader said in an appeal to the voters.

Irani had lost against Gandhi from Amethi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Five years later, she is hoping to breach the Gandhi family bastion.

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