I have a degree from Yale University, says Smriti Irani

Irani made the remark when pressed by a questioner at the India Today Woman Summit 2014.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published:August 10, 2014 7:08 pm
HRD Minister Smriti Irani. Irani was at the centre of a raging controversy over her educational qualifications after it emerged that she had made contradictory declarations when she contested the parliamentary elections in 2004 and 2014.

The controversy over HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications has taken a new turn with her assertion that she also has a degree from the prestigious Yale University in the US.

Irani(38) made the remark when pressed by a questioner at the India Today Woman Summit 2014 to clear the “mystery” over her educational degrees.

Soon after the Lok Sabha results were announced on May 16, Irani was at the centre of a raging controversy over her educational qualifications after it emerged that she had made contradictory declarations when she contested the parliamentary elections in 2004 and 2014.

“In that kitty of mine where people call me ‘anpad'(illiterate) I do have a degree from Yale University as well which I can bring out and show how Yale celebrated my leadership capacities.

“Extraneous circumstances are being created so that I deviate my concentration from what my goals are,” she said at the event on Saturday. The BJP leader said she shuld be judged from what she delivers as a minister.

Irani did not explain what the Yale degree was but she was part of a group of Indian MPs which underwent a crash course at the Yale University, during which the elections in India, the prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan after the US military withdrawal in 2014, the implications of political and economic transitions in China dominated.

The 11 Indian MPs came to the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut on June 19 last year to complete a six-day leadership program with Yale faculty. The 2013 participants were drawn from five different national and regional political parties in India, and included Irani, who was BJP vice president at that time, and her TDP counterpart C Ramesh.

In addition to BJP and TDP, there were also representatives from the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena. In the academic program, the delegation participated in discussions with Yale faculty on nuclear non-proliferation; the democracy movement in the Arab world; women’s empowerment; elections theory and practices; political and economic developments in China; campaign finance reform; the environmental impact of shale gas development; Afghanistan and Pakistan after 2014; pharmaceutical innovation and patent law; and climate change mitigation.

The 2013 program was held in a new partnership with the Governance and Public Policy Initiative of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. In all, more than 80 MPs from India have participated since the program was created eight years ago.

When pressed further at the ‘India Today’ event to clear the air over her educational qualifications, Irani told the questioner to file a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) if he wanted to know the truth about the poll affidavit controversy.

“Please go and file a PIL against me in court, I shall give you your answer in court to settle this once and for all,” she said when asked which of the two poll affidavits she had filed in 2004 and 2014 was real.

As a candidate in 2004 elections from Chandni Chowk in Delhi, Irani had declared that she had a Bachelor of Arts(BA) degree. “B.A. 1996 Delhi University (School of Correspondence)”, she had written in the column which seeks details of University education and the year in which the course was completed.

In the same column of the affidavit filed in the 2014 elections from Amethi, Irani had said, “Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi-1994”.

Reacting to Irani’s Yale link, Congress asked why did she not mention this in her poll affidavit. “And our HRD minister forgot to mention her Yale degree in her affidavit this time. But all her affidavits have had different degrees, sigh,” Priyanka Chaturvedi, a Congress
spokesperson, sarcastically tweeted.

“I repeat again. It’s NOT about the need of educational qualifications for a minister. It’s about her honesty, integrity and truthfulness,” she added.

Irani had spoken about her Yale degree while anwsering rquestions at the India Today event after addressing the gathering on “A World of Change Why Women Need to Speak Up, Be Heard”.

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  1. R
    Raja Ray
    Jun 1, 2015 at 11:18 pm
    Smiriti did only one mistake in life that too in 2004. Congress is after her like anything.
  2. T
    Thamizh Virumbi
    Jun 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm
    If she is having a degree from Yale, why did she not mentioned in her affidavits. Authenticity of the degree to be verified
    1. D
      Jun 24, 2015 at 3:16 pm
      Degree or no degree, she is a good leader and has aspirations to serve the country. Why don't people let her work? What's a degree worth anyway? Leaders are born and not churned out of educational insutions. People without degrees have accomplished more in life than those who have graduated from great universities.
      1. A
        Aug 12, 2014 at 11:20 am
        Mr. Kapil Suri, They are not the HRD minister of India,You are loosing your sense in rage. (Turn of that caps lock) P.S. A Crash course is not degress someone please tell Smriti that. :P
        1. B
          Aug 10, 2014 at 9:51 pm
          money can buy any degree, a true degree should be based on merit and talent!
          1. C
            Aug 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm
            It should not matter whether an elected politician has or does not have further or higher qualifications. The electors are the judge of ones capabilities. I live in the UK and here we have a British politician who is a defense minister. He is not a general or brigadier or had undergone military training. He is a lawyer! Smriti Irani is being hounded for nothing by her opponents and your media is to blame for it. Look at Rahul hi, who to some of us appears a simpleton. A pagla. Yet uptill the Elections to Congress he was a leader in waiting! How bizarre. Sonia hi would know her son well and she must bad in despair!
            1. C
              chitransha mishra
              Aug 10, 2014 at 5:20 pm
              And yet we don't see how that "Leadership" crash course is helping your people.
              1. d
                Aug 10, 2014 at 2:22 pm
                A blatant lie by Smriti. A crash course does not consute a degree in Yale. Did she complete an undergraduate degree of 4 years or a graduate degree of 2 years.
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