Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's comments in the UK did not come due to his concern over India but for his political legacy, Union minister Smriti Irani said on Friday, stressing that the opposition party should take a hint from the recent poll results in the northeast and "smell the political coffee". The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained power on its own in Tripura and with its senior ally, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), in Nagaland.
"Let us keep the 2014 and 2019 (Lok Sabha) elections aside. The Congress should take a hint from the recent poll results in the northeastern states of Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya, where the BJP did fairly well, and smell the political coffee," the Union minister for women and child development and minority affairs said at the India Today Conclave here.
Referring to Gandhi's "democracy-under-attack" remarks made during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, Irani said, "Democracy is not in peril in India, the Congress party is." She said "his (Gandhi's) comments did not come due to his concern for India, but due to the concern about his political legacy". "He (Gandhi) is the same person who in Jammu, just a few days ago, said everything is fine in India," Irani added.
The BJP leader also took a jibe at the former Congress chief when it was mentioned that she emerged as a "giant slayer" in 2019 after defeating him in the parliamentary polls from Amethi, saying Gandhi is "barely a giant".
During his interactions in the UK, Gandhi alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under attack and there is a "full-scale assault" on the country's institutions. The Congress leader also told British parliamentarians in London that microphones are often "turned off" in the Lok Sabha when an opposition member raises important issues.
Irani spoke of "Hindutva" and a "new India" and said earlier, it was believed that if "you are stagnant and in need of reforms, you must be a part of the Hindu way of life".
"In our new India, my way of life speaks of good health and a prosperous country," she said.