Smriti Irani may have lost to Rahul Gandhi in Amethi but she is making sure that people in the Congress bastion don’t forget her. The human resource development minister has made six trips to Amethi since May 2014 and announced as many as 30 schemes, besides setting up a nodal office of sorts for the Lok Sabha constituency at her residence in Delhi.Unlike many of her contemporaries in the party and outside, who didn’t re-enter the Congress’ home turf after defeat, Irani is ensuring that she doesn’t fade away from Amethi memory, as one more candidate who lost and never returned.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fact is that Irani, who lost to the Congress vice president by over 100,000 votes in the last general election, has been making frequent visits to Amethi, a constituency where she, so far, has nothing at stake. She could pose a stiff challenge to the Gandhis in the times to come.She has also been making announcements for the constituency and is using the resources of the central leadership to fulfill them, it is learnt.In her two-day visit to Amethi earlier this month, the HRD minister promised skill development centres for the youth of the constituency. To tie up loose ends, a team from the skill development ministry was with her during the visit. While Irani is back in Delhi, the skill development team is conducting its survey in the constituency.”The ministry along with the local BJP unit is now identifying five boys and girls from all 981 polling booths in the constituency. These 4,905 young boys and girls will be trained under national skill development mission,” explained Ajay Tripathi, a BJP worker from Uttar Pradesh.This is in tune with the 30-odd different announcements she has made in the last one-and-a-half years. These include the setting up of a soil testing laboratory, a skill development centre instead of the Indian Institute of Information Technology campus at Amethi, a government school at Fursatgunj and a 300- bed hospital for women.BJP supporters also feel that it was through Irani’s initiative that the railway station at Gauriganj was upgraded and a separate counter for railway inquiry and reservation is now in place. The minister, they add, can also be credited with getting 50,000 people insured under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.A portion of Irani’s MP local area development (MPLAD) fund has also been utilised in Amethi for purchasing ambulances. According to party insiders, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, will also be using his MPLAD funds in Rahul Gandhi’s constituency.Back in Delhi, a nodal officer has been appointed at Irani’s official residence to coordinate with the BJP team in Amethi. “We receive complaints and feedback. Sometimes even people from Amethi come to us with their complaints. We try to do whatever we can,” said a party worker.While the local BJP unit in Amethi feels that Irani’s frequent visits have pumped new life into the dead BJP unit of the area, the Congress leadership says her only intention is to grab headlines.Labelling Irani the most controversial BJP leader, Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh said, “Whenever she is out of news at the Centre, she visits Amethi to make headlines. Amethi will gain nothing from her visits.”Smriti Irani’s visitsJuly 19, 2014Distributed relief material to 70 families who suffered losses becauseof a fire at Tiloi and Gauriganj assembly segments.May 12, 2015Held kisan panchayats and a jan sabha. Persuaded the centre to buy damaged grains at appropriate price.May 26, 2015Announced upgradation of the Gauriganj railway station and insurance of 15,000 people under PM Suraksha Bima Yojana.August 23, 2015Addressed a gathering of women on Raksha Bandhan. Addressed a gathering of 25,000.September 20, 2015Initiated a tree plantation drive. Announced setting up a school at Fursatganj.January 17-18, 2016Announced setting up of skill training institutions. 4,905 youth will get trained from March under a skill development ministry programme.
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