Targetting Priyanka Gandhi, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley on Monday said her ignorance about the presence of party candidate Smriti Irani in Amethi showed the Congress star campaigner's "arrogance at its worst".
"Mrs Vadra's statement yesterday (on Sunday) on Smriti Irani, denying her existence by asking a question 'who' displays arrogance at its worst," Jaitley said in his 'Campaign Diary'.
Irani has challenged Congress vice president and sitting MP Rahul Gandhi in his constituency in Amethi, which is going to polls on May 7.
In his blog, Jaitley recalled the 1967 Lok Sabha election, in which George Fernandes was pitted against then strong man in Mumbai politics, S K Patil.
"Fernandes had a challenging task of changing Mumbai's, (then Bombay) mindset. His initial slogan was -- 'Patil can be defeated'. This was written on the walls and stickers pasted outside each building apartment/jhoparpatti (slum).”
"When questioned about the prospects of his being defeated, Patil, with Mrs Vadra's style of smugness, announced -- Only God can defeat me. George Fernandes immediately retorted -- God does not vote, only you do. Only you can defeat Patil."
Jaitley recalled the result of that poll in which Patil was defeated and George entered Parliament for the first time.
He said, "Mrs Vadra's query on Smriti Irani questioning her existence reminds me of the Patil-George confrontation."
Priyanka, daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, during a roadshow in Amethi on May 4 was asked about Irani hitting back, but before the reporter could complete the question, she asked, "Who"? When the reporter repeated, "Smriti Irani," she said grinning, "Oh". She was campaigning for her brother Rahul.
Jaitley who is trying to enter Lok Sabha for the first time contesting from Amritsar constituency, said the Amethi challenge has become a stiff one because of a strong anti-incumbency factor.
"Coupled with extensive campaigning done by Smriti Irani, a strong anti incumbency against Congress and the Gandhis for non-development of Amethi and the desire to puncture the arrogance of those who feel that they own Amethi, have all a potential of making Amethi challenge into a stiff one," he claimed.
Jaitley hoped, "If Amethi goes the Smriti Irani way it will be good for Amethi and may be in the long run good news for the Congress too."
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