NEW DELHI: Union minister Smriti Irani hit out at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and politicizing the issue at a time when the country was “united against terrorism”.

“Upon return from strategic and very well known holiday, Mr Gandhi has chosen to attack the Prime Minister, especially when nation stands united against terrorism,” Irani said on Wednesday.

The BJP leader was referring to Rahul’s flurry of tweets earlier in the day, in which he claimed that PM Modi’s quest for “short term political gain” had “created space for terrorists in Kashmir”, leading to incidents like the terror attack on Amarnath yatris, which claimed the lives of 7 people. Irani then reminded him that the Kashmir issue was the legacy of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

“Mr Gandhi speaks about personal gain, now everybody in our country knows and history has given evidence that when it comes to challenges with regard to Kashmir, those challenges are given out to country courtesy the Nehru-Gandhi family,” she said.

Harking back to when Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar told a Pakistani news channel that PM Narendra Modi needs to be removed so bilateral talks may resume between the two neighbours, Irani demanded whether that was for a personal or political move by Rahul.

“There are a few questions he needs to answer. Congress leader Mani Shanker Aiyar went to Pakistan and sought help to remove Narendra Modi and his government so that the Congress can come back to power. Is that the strategy for Rahul Gandhi’s personal gain or is that political strategy?” she queried.

Calling the Gandhi scion “an immature mind who does not know the history of his own family”, Irani jibed that Rahul will take another time-off in the near future to prepare more ammunition to attack PM Modi with.

“Everybody in country knows that very soon Mr Gandhi will be off to another holiday, this is just a stopgap arrangement (sic). When he comes back to India he needs to find one statement which he needs to give against the PM,” she said.

Irani has rarely missed a chance to duel with Rahul ever since she challenged him in his constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in 2014.

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