ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS Smriti Irani's declarations over the years on her college degree today inspired an elaborate Congress dig parodying a wildly popular television serial that starred the Union Minister before she joined politics. "No matter what you say, the more you harass me, the harder I will work in Amethi," she shot back at the Congress.
The row over Smriti Irani's educational qualifications was back in the limelight on Thursday after she filed her affidavit as a BJP candidate from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi, where she takes on Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
"A new serial is coming, 'Kyunki Mantri Bhi Kabhi Graduate Thi'," Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said at a press conference.
"Its opening line will be 'Qualifications ke bhi roop badalte hain, naye-naye sanche mein dhalte hain, ek degree aati hai, ek degree jaati hai, bante affidavit naye hain' (Qualifications keep changing, keep getting new forms, one degree comes, another degree goes, new affidavits keep forming)," she added, partly singing the title song.
The Congress comments referred to the serial "Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi", in which Smriti Irani played the lead. In a marathon run of eight years, she became a household name.
On Thursday, the minister declared to the Election Commission in her poll affidavit that her three-year degree course was "not completed".
In the category of Highest Educational Qualification, the affidavit said "Bachelor of Commerce Part-1" from the School of Open Learning (Correspondence) University of Delhi. The year is 1994. "Three year degree course not completed," is written in brackets.
She made the same declaration in her 2017 affidavit to the Rajya Sabha, where she is a member.
But in the 2014 election, when the Union Minister fought from Amethi for the first time, she had only said: "Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence) University of Delhi, 1994".
In 2004, when she contested from Delhi's Chandni Chowk against Congress leader Kapil Sibal, her affidavit only said B.A. or Bachelor of Arts, 1996, Delhi University (School of Correspondence).
Smriti Irani has been accused often by the Congress and other opposition parties of providing contradictory information on her education.