From a complete outsider to an A-list leader, the meteoric rise of Smriti Irani is nothing short of a miracle! In a two-decade-long journey, Irani achieved several milestones. From being India’s darling bahu with cult following in soap opera ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ in 2000, Irani breached the Congress fort and defeated Rahul Gandhi in his bastion Amethi in the Lok Sabha Elections this year. Irani has been rechristened as ‘giant-slayer’ by media for her spectacular victory in Amethi. Known for her prolific oratory skills, Irani was inducted in Modi Sarkar 2.0 as the Women and Child development minister.
Her popularity can be gauged from the fact that at the time of her oath-taking ceremony in the Lok Sabha on June 17, Irani was greeted to the longest applause by the lawmakers.
On May 23, Irani defeated Gandhi from his bastion of Amethi by a margin of over 55,000 votes. According to the Election Commission website, Irani polled 4,68,514 votes while Gandhi secured 4,13,394 votes. The victory margin for Irani is 55,120 votes. This was a complete reversal of poll mandate. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi had defeated Irani by 1,07,903 votes.
After registering the mega victory, Irani took to Twitter and expressed her gratitude with a line from a famous ghazal by Dushyant Kumar to imply that nothing is impossible. Roughly translated, the line says, "Who says the sky cannot be punctured with a hole..." “कौन कहता है आसमां में सुराख नहीं हो सकता ...,” Irani said on social media.
Though the grand old party had been comfortably winning the seat, the victory had all through been thanks to the charisma and name of the Gandhi family without the support of the party organisation, political pundits opined. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Gandhi had defeated Irani by 1,07,903 votes.
On the first real challenge, in the face of a concerted campaigning by Irani, the Congress fortress came tumbling down since she had prepared and strengthened her organisation in this dusty constituency, 120 Km from the state capital.
The constituency also laments that though Rahul Gandhi had been a frequent visitor during this three stints as the MP, he had not reached the remote areas and failed to make a connect with those in the rural areas.
The locals felt that Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka’s presence had also failed to make a difference as her programmes too were finalised by those who had little knowledge of the nerve of the constituency.