Conflicting views have emerged within the Congress over the row surrounding HRD minister Smriti Irani's academic credentials, as yet another party leader today struck a different note saying "nobody" should have anything to do with the qualification of a minister. As far as education is concerned, I have earlier also said that nobody should have anything to do with the qualification. The Prime Minister of India has the right to decide whom to allocate a particular ministry," former Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Alvi said.
Alvi said that he agrees that they (ministers) should be judged on the basis of their performance, whether they were successful or not. Irani is at the centre of a raging controversy over her educational qualification after it emerged that she had made contradictory declarations when she contested Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2014. Congress launched a broadside against Irani with party general secretary and Communication Department Chairman Ajay Maken on Tuesday questioning her ability to deliver as HRD minister as she was "not even a graduate".
The next day, the party attacked here pointing out to mention of different degrees of BA and B.Com part I in her two separate affidavits. Alvi said that as far as the issue of affidavit is concerned, that is an issue to be looked into by law and it should see what is wrong or write. Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari also had a different take on the issue yesterday when he said any attack on the government should be on substance and not superficials. To a question on the Irani controversy, Tewari felt that criticism of the government should be policy based rather than personality centric.
A tweet of party general secretary Digvijay Singh on May 27, the first day of Congress attack on Irani said," Educational Qualification of a Minister/ PM is not the issue. But Modi chose Smriti Irani over Dr Murli Manohar Joshi is the issue." Breaking her silence over the controversy, Irani today said, "extraneous circumstances" were created to deviate her attention from work and asked the people to judge her by her work.
Congress spokesperson Sandip Dikshit said that her statement is "fair enough" that one should be judged by one's action but insisted that there is "some discrepancy" in what she had stated in her affidavits. He said that on this issue, she should come out clean not just as an education minister but also as somebody in the Cabinet and in public life, who has been "shouting hoarse" on everybody to come out clean. Another party leader Meem Afzal said that despite the controversy for the whole day yesterday on the issue, BJP did not give any "explanation" about the discrepancy in her affidavits.
"What does it show that she has filed wrong affidavits. This is a criminal act," Afzal said.