A day after the Congress suggested that Smriti Irani was not academically qualified enough to be the HRD minister, the BJP Wednesday hit back, questioning the educational qualification of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The Congress, too, stepped up its attack.
“There is a clear misstatement, distortion in her 2014 affidavit which is a serious criminal offence. It has electoral consequences… In the 2004 affidavit, she has claimed to be a graduate…BA of 1996 (batch). In her 2014 affidavit, it is specified that it is only Bachelor of Commerce Part I. That only means one year and not a full degree,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said. “We don’t know whether the misstatement was in the 2004 affidavit or in the 2014 affidavit. But both can’t be true. Only the BJP can clarify it,” he added.
While Irani remained mum on the issue, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said, “I want to ask Sonia Gandhi what is her qualification because she was heading the UPA government, she was giving directions to the government. I want to see her certificate and how qualified she is. It is then that the Congress will have the right to ask for Smriti’s qualifications.” Singhvi replied saying, “Sonia is not the HRD minister.”
Some Congress leaders, meanwhile, disagreed with Maken. “You need to make a distinction between education, literacy and intelligence… If we need to criticise government, it should be on substantive issues rather than superficiality,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh said it was the PM’s prerogative to select his council of ministers.
126 MPs are Class 12 pass or below
NEW DELHI: Her educational qualification may triggered a fresh war of words between the BJP and Congress, but newly appointed HRD Minister Smriti Irani is in the company of 125 more MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha whose educational qualification is Class 12 or below.
As per data of 542 MPs analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), as many as 23 per cent Lok Sabha MPs are Class 12th pass or below.
While 58 MPs have declared themselves as 12th pass in their election affidavits, another 48 have declared themselves as 10th pass. The new Lok Sabha has nine MPs who are 8th pass, another six who are 5th pass and five more MPs who’ve declared themselves as “Literate”. A lone MP, from Telugu Desam party, has declared himself as an illiterate.
As per their affidavits, 67 BJP MPs have education qualification of Class 12 or below.