Union Minister Smriti Irani’s aide, Ravi Dutt Mishra, who had been with her since her first step in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, joined the Congress party on Thursday.
Mishra was so close to Irani, that she used to even stay at his home whenever she visited the constituency. Infact it was Ravi Mishra who had brought BJP leader Smriti Irani to Amethi.
“Irani used to stay at Mishra’s house whenever she visited Amethi,” said a Congress leader.
Mr Mishra was also a minister in the earlier state government of Samajwadi Party (SP).
Mishra’s joining the Congress comes at a critical time when its president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary and in-charge for the party’s East Uttar Pradesh affairs Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are on tour of Amethi.
While Irani had unsuccessfully contested against Congress president in 2014, Rahul Gandhi is contesting from two seats this time – Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, and Wayanad in Kerala. As per projections from ground reports, Irani will be heading for a larger defeat in 2019, considering ever increasing popularity of Rahul Gandhi.
Both Gandhi and Irani filed their respective nominations from Amethi in past two days.
In her affidavit filed during her nomination, Ms Irani, said she passed secondary school examination in 1991 and senior secondary school examination in 1993.
She said she did not complete her Bachelor of Commerce (Part-I) — a three-year degree course — from DU’s School of Open Learning in 1994.
However, in her affidavit for 2014 polls, she had reportedly said she graduated from the university in 1994, triggering a row over the veracity of her claim, with the Opposition parties alleging that she was not a graduate.
Uttar Pradesh will vote in all seven phases of the Lok Sabha which are scheduled to be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. Counting will be done on May 23.