Graduate or not? Smriti Irani's affidavits have 2 different stories

In an affidavit filed by Irani to the Election Commission in 2004, she claims to have completed her BA in 1996 from Delhi University's School of Correspondence. But in her affidavit filed with the EC in 2014, Irani claimed that she completed part one, that is the first year, of her bachelor degree in Commerce in the year 1994 from Delhi University's School of Open Learning.

Bhupendra Chaubey May 29, 2014 07:30:14 IST
Graduate or not? Smriti Irani's affidavits have 2 different stories

There is more controversy over Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani's educational qualifications. Two separate affidavits filed by the minister have discrepancies in them.

In an affidavit filed by Irani to the Election Commission in 2004, she claims to have completed her BA in 1996 from Delhi University's School of Correspondence. But in her affidavit filed with the EC in 2014, Irani claimed that she completed part one, that is the first year, of her bachelor degree in Commerce in the year 1994 from Delhi University's School of Open Learning.

Delhi University sources have told CNN-IBN that this is a discrepancy, but they have online records only post 2000.

Graduate or not Smriti Iranis affidavits have 2 different stories

Smriti Irani. Image courtesy: IBN Live.

This raises many new questions on Irani's educational qualification:

- Did Irani say in 2004 that she was pursuing her BA or did she deliberately leave it ambiguous?

- If in 2014, Smriti Irani states that she has completed just the first year of her BA, then why didn't she say so clearly in 2004?

- Is this a case of Smriti Irani giving false information or is this a case of Smriti not keen to divulge her educational credentials?

The focus now has shifted to Irani's affidavit discrepancies from what was earlier a controversy over whether she is qualified enough to be the HRD Minister. The Congress had on Tuesday come down hard on Irani with Ajay Maken questioning how a 12th class pass-out can head the HRD ministry.

Congress leader Ajay Maken had on Tuesday tweeted, "What a Cabinet of Modi? HRD Minister (looking after education) Smriti Irani is not even a graduate! Look at her affidavit at the ECI site- page 11! (sic)"

But the Congress is speaking in different voices. "There is a difference in education, intelligence and literacy. This distinction should be kept in mind. If the government has to be criticised, it should be on issues and not superficiality," said Congress leader Manish Tewari.

"If they had made her in charge of a state ministry it would have been fine. But this department needs experience and the government doesn't seem to be taking it seriously," NCP leader Tariq Anwar said.

While Irani remained silent, the BJP hit back at the Congress asking what its President Sonia Gandhi's qualification is. "I would like to ask what is Sonia Gandhi's educational qualification," asked Mos textiles Santosh Gangwar said.

In her affidavit before the Election Commission, Irani has stated her last education as Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi-1994. Irani's biodata at the Rajya Sabha website states "Educated at Holy Child Auxilium, Delhi and School of Correspondence and Continuing Education, University of Delhi."

"People have seen Smriti Irani in Parliament. They have seen her leadership. The PM has given her the responsibility because of her merit," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"If a such a comment has come from the Congress then it is very unfortunate and I think the Congress should introspect before giving such comments," he added.

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