New Delhi: Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani slammed the Congress party on Saturday, claiming that the party has cheated the people of Amethi for 55 years. On the third day of her visit to Amethi, she reportedly said, “Ram’s ‘vanvas’ (exile) ended in 14 years, but Amethi’s vanvas is going to end after 15 years. The people of Amethi are going to bid farewell to the ‘naamdar’ (dynast) on May 6 (polling day). The Congress cheated the people for 55 years.”

Smriti Irani added, “Naamdars took the vote of Amethi for fruits of power, but did not think of the development here.” Lashing out at the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his recent comments on the BJP’s top leadership, Irani said, “Only those who do not have values throw muck on others.”

Rahul Gandhi commented that the BJP patriarch LK Advani had been unceremoniously sidelined. Gandhi on Friday had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of humiliating Advani, saying disrespecting one’s guru is not Hindu culture. Addressing a poll rally at Chandrapur in Maharashtra, Gandhi had said, “BJP talks of Hinduism. In Hinduism, guru is supreme. It talks of guru-shishya tradition. Who is Modi’s guru? Advani. Joota maar ke stage se utara (Advani was kicked out from stage).”

Lamenting that the people of Amethi lack basic amenities even after 70 years of Independence, Irani said farmers still do not get water for irrigation. Later, she met Sant Fakkad Baba at the Kalikan Dham and sought his blessings. Interacting with other devotees, Irani said she has adopted Amethi as her home which she will never leave and the people here have given her the honour of ‘didi’.

The BJP leader on Friday met several party workers in different assembly segments of the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, including Tiloi and Jagdishpur, and discussed issues related to the polls. The Union minister, who will take on sitting MP and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, started her door-to-door contact programme from Tiloi. She was accompanied by BJP’s district president Durgesh Tripathi.

(With agency inputs)