“Ghar par ladka hai par lad nahin sakta (There is a boy at home who can't fight)”, Union Minister Smriti Irani said on Thursday, countering Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's slogan “Ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon (I'm a girl and can fight)” for her party.
Ms Irani quipped the innuendo, mocking both former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav at the Times Now Summit 2021.
"In UP, the election would be fought on the issue of development and we expect that there will be policy and development-led discussions, strengthening the democracy," Ms Irani said, countering the Congress slogan for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
Referring to the “Ladki hoon…” slogan, tossed by Priyanka Gandhi during her announcement last month that the Congress will field woman candidates on 40 per cent of the UP assembly seats, Ms Irani said it means “Ghar par ladka hai par lad nahin sakta”.
Further dissecting Priyanka Gandhi's proposal for giving 40 pc tickets to woman candidates, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development said, "This means she is saying she does not want to give 60 per cent tickets to women".
"I am not saying in politics and democracy, people should not try. Winning and losing is part of politics. I also lost in 2014 but the question is how much belief do the people have in your efforts,” she said.
“Do people have that sentiment towards that person?" she further asked, referring to Rahul Gandhi.
She said women leaders should not be expected to take care of only women members of society.
"When we talk about women leaders why do we say women leaders must work only for women, why don't we say that for men too,” she asked.
“When we give constitutional responsibility to someone, one's responsibility is also that one works as much for men, children and elders as one does it for women,” she said.
Countering a question if the BJP works on the formula of polarisation, she asked, "Do you think the citizens of this country cannot do political analysis and will fall for a formula?"
On Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav talking of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the same breath, she also took a dig at the SP chief, saying this comparison again shows that 'Ladke hain, lad nahin sakte. (Boys cannot fight).”
"Sardar Patel is incomparable. Sardar Patel is responsible for invoking the emotion of unity among 500 princely states. You can imagine how ‘virat' (magnanimous) that personality must be,” she said.
“Can you compare that person to that gentleman (Jinnah) who said let us divide the country on the basis of religion,” she asked.
“One worked towards uniting the country while another towards breaking it," she pointed out.
Mr Yadav had recently talked of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jinnah in the same breath as leaders who fought for India's independence, prompting criticism from the BJP.
On Salman Khurshid's recent book which likened the RSS to ISIS and Boko Haram, Ms Irani said he also wrote a book 15 years ago in which he said in the 1984 riots, Hindus and Sikhs paid for their sins.
"We should ask those who visit temples during elections if they are aware of what Salman Saheb said about Hindus and Sikhs. What sin did we commit that we were killed in 1984 riots?" she asked.
On political leaders visiting temples ahead of elections, Ms Irani said, "In my election rally in 2019, when Amit Shah came to campaign in Amethi, he also visited a mosque. So why do we just talk about temples?"
On Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's comment that Hindutva is everyone's right and not of just one party, Ms Irani said there is a difference between opportunistic Hindu or political Hindu and ‘Sanatan' Hindus.
"But this is also true that we are part of a democracy and who wants to follow which religion is a personal matter," she said.
On the gender gap in India, the Union minister said India has the highest number of women in political offices across the world if one looks at their participation in the three-tier governance of the country, including the posts of panch and sarpanch.