Will not be cowed down by Congress’s legal notice: Smriti Irani

Lucknow: Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said she will not be cowed down or threatened by the legal notice served on her by the Congress and asserted that one cannot stop a person from raising questions.

“I consider myself fortunate as the Gandhi family has served a legal notice on me for the first time in the history of Independent India,” she said here. Uttar Pradesh Congress has issued the legal notice to Irani for alleging that Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust had grabbed land of farmers in Amethi.

Irani was speaking at a conclave organised by Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd in Lucknow. “This is a political indicator which people understand very well,” she said. “The notice was served at my residence at 9 pm. They probably knew that I would be visiting Amethi the next day. May be, some people felt that I will become silent if notice was given, but they misjudged me,” Irani said.

The Union minister said that despite the notice she again spoke about the Gandhi family in Amethi next day. “In an independent country, you cannot stop a person from raising questions so long as it is done in a dignified manner. I was told that on a news channel a Congress spokesman said that they were giving message to Smriti Irani, probably they felt that being a woman, I will get afraid,” she said.

She said that probably they weigh Indian women less. “I am not the one to be cowed down or threatened,” she said. The HRD Minister said that she even discussed the notice issue with her 13-year-old son.”I asked him what to do. He just said ‘let’s contest’,” she said, on being asked about multi-tasking as a politician and a home maker.

Asked about her frequent visits to Amethi and allegations of absence of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi from his constituency, she said,”I never make personal comment on Rahul. I believe that politics can be done on the basis of issues. If you have to raise the level of politics, youshould debate on issues.” Irani said she has no right to ask Rahul where he was going, or what he was doing, as it was his personal matter.

“It is the right of his party. I believe that if level of politics has to be increased, then we should concentrate on issues. I visit Amethi so often as I want that attention of people should not get distracted from real issues,” she said.

Asked about her becoming the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the next UP Assembly elections, Irani said,”We should stop building bridges of possibilities. We should live in present. My effort is that I do a good job so that people, who have given this responsibility (HRD Minister) to me, feel happy and satisfied.”