Fresh trouble for Smriti Irani over 'misrepresentation' in affidavit

She has been found making contradicting statements under oath about her education in the affidavit filed along with the nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2014.

May 28, 2014 09:01 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 07:06 pm IST - New Delhi

What began as a row over her lack of qualifications to head the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has snowballed into trouble for Minister Smriti Irani as she has been found making contradicting statements under oath about her education in the affidavit filed along with the nomination papers for the Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2014.

In 2004 – when she contested from Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi – Ms. Irani declared her educational qualification as ``B.A. 1996 Delhi University (School of Correspondence). But in the affidavit filed by her for the recently concluded election in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, she deposed that she had done ``Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi-1994’’.

As per the School of Open Learning, Part-1 is the first year of the three-year programme. Her affidavit while filing the nomination for the Rajya Sabha election in 2011 also cites B.Com Part-I, School of Correspondence, University of Delhi, 1994.

Attention to the ``misrepresentation in the affidavit’’ was drawn by activist Madhu Kishwar – who is a vocal supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – on Tuesday itself after firing the first salvo against Ms. Irani. But the two affidavits were pulled out and circulated by the Congress as a damage-control endeavour after party in-charge of the Communication Department Ajay Maken drew flak from the BJP and on social media for echoing Ms. Kishwar’s comments on Ms. Irani’s competence.

Reacting to Mr. Maken’s dig at Ms. Irani’s educational qualifications, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said: ``Sonia Gandhi should first let us know her qualifications for heading the United Progressive Alliance or ask her MPs to keep quiet.’’ She was speaking to the media after taking charge of her Ministry.

 Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi advised the Congress to shed its arrogance now that it had been rejected by the people. ``They should introspect,’’ he said even as many saw Mr. Maken’s statement to be as damaging to the Congress as former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar’s bid to taunt Mr. Modi about his humble ``tea-boy’’ beginnings.

 Even as the Congress tried to get out of the corner that Mr. Maken had painted the party into by saying that the issue is not of qualification but competence to step into the shoes of predecessors Maulana Abul Kalam, Karan Singh, V. P. Singh and Murli Manohar Joshi, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav spoke up for Ms. Irani. ``The pulse of the nation is not known only by formal education.’’

Meanwhile, Ms. Kishwar kept her guns trained on Ms. Irani through tweets. In one tweet, the activist claimed that she had merely echoed what was being whispered within the BJP. ``Smriti Irani defenders please note: My sentiments echoed with great fervour within BJP circles. BJP insiders saying much harsher things than me.’’


0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.