Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was unusually combative today as she countered the BJP's Smriti Irani, who is taking on her brother Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, in his three-time constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. Smriti Irani had come and "distributed shoes" in Amethi as an insult, she said.
"The people of Amethi and Raebareli have never begged. Whoever is insulting you, you have to give it back to them," Priyanka Gandhi said to a small crowd at one of her meetings in Amethi, the constituency of her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, where Smriti Irani is his challenger for the second time. The union minister's campaign is largely focused on projecting Rahul Gandhi as a "missing MP" who has neglected his constituency for years.
"I was an actor, it is better if Priyanka doesn't do acting. The poor people didn't have footwear. She should go and visit Hariharpur, but she'd first have to ask the missing lawmaker where exactly Hariharpur is," Smriti Irani said in response to Priyanka Gandhi's attack.
An angry Priyanka Gandhi today tackled Smriti Irani's criticism and accused her of "spreading lies", while her mother Sonia Gandhi stood back.
"You have seen us for generations. You saw Rajiv Gandhi (her father) going from village to village. Rahul Gandhi goes to villages. See Varanasi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not gone to even one village. Your chief minister (Yogi Adityanath), has the poor to wash his hands and feet," she said forcefully.
"Everywhere you go you lie. The people of Amethi aren't fools. They are not just fooling the people of Amethi, they are fooling everybody. They destroyed 50 lakh jobs - the same people who said they will create so many jobs. Farmers are crying in distress, they say stray animals are destroying our farms. In Bhadohi, traders are suffering because of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Their campaign is far from reality. I see sorrow wherever I go."
Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress general secretary in charge of eastern UP, returned to familiar ground, her brother's Amethi and mother Sonia's Raebareli, to campaign like she has for several years.
From Amethi, she went to neighbouring Raebareli and hit out at former party leader Dinesh Pratap Singh, who is taking on Sonia Gandhi as the BJP candidate.
"The people trusted the BJP and brought them to power. Now I go to villages and wherever I go, I see the reality. They advertise progress, but the reality is different."
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