Let’s not beat around the bush. Let’s compare Smriti Irani’s merits with that of her critics. Let’s forget about her educational qualifications, and its authenticity, or the lack of it. Let’s just see if we can safely say that Smriti Irani is much better suited to politics than most other politicians. Then there is also the issue of misrepresenting facts. Smriti Irani allegedly filed wrong affidavits on multiple occasions, putting on record differing degrees. Whether it was a mistake or not, only time will tell.
In the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, Digvijay Singh, Sachin Pilot and the so-called ‘educated others’ may have acquired credible degrees and certificates of excellence, but when it comes to communicating with the masses, when it comes to the understanding of the national and international issues, when it comes down to showing that you care, when it comes down to being sensitive to the needs of the underprivileged, Smriti Irani has proven that she is more powerful than most of them combined together.
Even AAP leaders are baying for Smriti Irani’s blood. Suddenly, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kumar Vishwas have become very vocal. Instead of addressing the various issues that plague Delhi, they are creating a ruckus over an education degree that, frankly speaking, doesn’t even matter in life. What really matters is the maturity, a thinking mind, basic intelligence, understanding of politics and sensitivity towards the poor. What matters is the willingness to serve.
The pointed allegation that Smriti Irani lied about her educational qualifications in her affidavits during the elections also holds no water. Allegedly, she gave two different versions of her qualifications in the two different affidavits. But the Congress shouldn’t smirk, Smriti Irani could still have the last laugh.
A senior reputed lawyer has informed that even if Smriti Irani lied in the affidavit filed in 2004, the complaint against her should have been filed by 2005, to be maintainable because of the one-year limitation period under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for filing a complaint.
On top of that, Form 26, the format for a poll affidavit that asks for qualifications, was put into practice only in August, 2012, under Section 33A of the Representation of the People Act(RPA). A false declaration in the affidavit is illegal under Section 125A of the RPA, punishable with 6 years of imprisonment. This is where Irani will get out without any harm done. In her case, the law will not apply since she filled out the form in 2004, much before the system was introduced.
So what are we talking about here?
Education is important for everything, not just politics. It gives us the exposure, we are able to understand the minds of great scholars and their writings. We learn many things that help us. But education is not necessarily needed to be ethical, conscientious politicians.
Look at our current crop of politicians and their education history. Except AAP’s Jitender Tomar, who is fighting his own battle, everyone seems educated, but just look at the level of their commitment and mindset. Busy fighting among themselves, they are a rowdy lot, intoxicated with power and hungry for more.
There is no point in continuing to harass Smriti Irani with scathing remarks and offensive interviews. Legally, her critics cannot get her. Morally, she feels no guilt because there is none to feel, perhaps.
And let’s not forget, we should only be concerned about what she is doing for the people and how she is doing that. Nothing else should matter. Also, the Prime Minister is aware of her qualities. He wouldn’t make her a minister if he thought she was incapable.