Smriti Irani, who gave one of the biggest shocks for the Congress by beating Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, targeted Mr Gandhi and said she got his message to take-care-of-Amethi-with-love “loud and clear”.
The newly-elected parliamentarian’s response came after the killing of a BJP worker in Amethi late Saturday night. The ex-village head had worked closely with Ms Irani and had campaigned for her.
“On (May) 23, I was given a message that take care of Amethi with love. To the person, who gave me the message, I would like to say that I have received the message loud and clear,” she said, referring to Mr Gandhi’s remarks made on the counting day.
Last Thursday, as it became clear that he was losing Amethi, Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat and congratulated Ms Irani. “I want Smriti Irani ji to keep people’s faith and take care of Amethi with love,” he told reporters in a brief press conference after the Congress’s massive defeat in the national election.
Smriti Irani rushed to Amethi from New Delhi on Sunday and took part in the funeral of Surendra Singh, a former head of Barauliya village who was shot outside his house. Scores of BJP supporter and locals gathered took part in the funeral as Ms Irani was seen carrying his bier on her shoulders amid chants of slogans by villagers.
Ms Irani asked party workers to exercise restraint. She said Surendra Singh was killed so that Amethi could be “terrorised, disintegrated and bowed down”. “The development will reach every household of Amethi in his (Surendra Singh”s) memory,” she said.
Smriti Irani said, if need be, she would approach the Supreme Court to ensure that Surendra Singh”s killers are given capital punishment.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked the state police chief to show results within 12 hours and the Lucknow police chief has been sent to oversee the investigation. Seven people have been taken into custody and they are being interrogated.
Smriti Irani won from Amethi over 55,000 votes, defeating Rahul Gandhi, its three-time lawmaker.
The dusty, largely rural constituency around 130 km from UP capital Lucknow, had been held by Mr Gandhi’s family almost continuously for the last four decades.
“Kaun kehta hai aasmaa me surakh nahinho sakta (who says one can’t achieve the impossible),” Smriti Irani had quoted poet Dushyant Kumar in her tweet on her incredible win.