National

So, is Smriti Irani a graduate or not?

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on November 25, 2017 Published on May 28, 2014

Smriti Irani

There are discrepancies in her affidavits filed with the EC in 2004 and 2014

There is a discrepancy in Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani’s various declarations with regard to her educational qualifications.

Besides the exchange between the Congress and the BJP about whether she is “qualified” to be the HRD Minister at all, there is a doubt about which of Irani’s claims about her educational qualifications are factual. Irani had not given any clarification on the subject till late evening on Wednesday.

The discrepancy shows in the different affidavits she has submitted before the Election Commission (EC) over the past decade that she has been in politics. In fact, from 2004, when she contested against her predecessor in the HRD Ministry Kapil Sibal in Chandni Chowk to 2014, when she contested against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, she has dropped a few classes in her graduation class.

In her election affidavit submitted in 2004, she states that she did Class 10 in 1991, Class 12 in 1993 and BA from Delhi University (School of Correspondence) in 1996.

This changes in 2014. Here, she says she passed her Secondary, Senior School Certificate Examination and B.Com, Part 1 from the School of Open Learning (Correspondence), Delhi University, in 1994.

Change of subject

So, not only did she drop two classes, she also seems to have changed subjects — from a BA in 1996 to B.Com (Part 1) in 1994.

However, some consistency has been maintained since 2011, when she was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Her educational qualifications as declared in her election affidavit to the EC for the Rajya Sabha elections in 2011 are Secondary, Higher Secondary and B.Com (Part 1), School of Correspondence, Delhi University.

But in her resume at the Rajya Sabha website, the subject is dealt with in an opaque manner. Her bio-data at the Rajya Sabha official website just says that she was “educated at Holy Child Auxilium, Delhi and School of Correspondence and Continuing Education, University of Delhi, Delhi”. It does not specify whether she was a graduate or not and in what subject.

Meanwhile, the BJP has been straining to defend Irani, with her Cabinet colleague Uma Bharti mounting a counter offensive: “I want to ask Madam Sonia Gandhi — what is her qualification?”

The Congress seemed to be working at cross-purposes with party spokesperson Ajay Maken attacking Irani on Twitter last night.

“What a Cabinet of Modi! HRD Minister (Looking after Education) Smriti Irani is not even a graduate! Look at her affidavit at ECI site pg 11!”

Maken’s comment evoked outrage across Twitter with many calling him ‘sexist’ and ‘elitist’.

The party recoiled with Maken’s colleague Manish Tewari saying: “When we criticise the government, it should be on substance not superficiality.”

Published on May 28, 2014
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