New Delhi :
Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani will file her nomination papers from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are likely to accompany her.
According to Durgesh Tripathi, the district chairperson of the BJP, Irani was to file her nomination on April 17, but due to a holiday on that day (Mahaveer Jayanti), she changed the date.
Amethi figures in the fifth phase of the seven-phased general elections, and voting there will be held on May 6. Irani faces a poll battle with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who had filed his nomination papers on Wednesday.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi had defeated Smriti Irani by a margin of 1.07 lakh votes. Addressing a meeting of traders here, Irani targeted the Congress saying, "Do not support those who dream of disintegrating the country and dividing the society. This will weaken the country."
"Amethi has given me respect as an elder sister and not as a candidate. I believe that serving Amethi is my param dharam (prime duty). All you should be cautious of the Congress," she added.
Irani took a jibe at the Gandhi scion for talking about corruption despite himself being out on bail in the National Herald case and also targeted his brother-in-law Robert Vadra-- an accused in an alleged land grab scam in Rajasthan's Bikaner.
"Today Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by his brother-in-law Robert Vadra during filing of nomination papers. I had yesterday said that if 'damadji' is coming to Amethi, then the farmers of Amethi should be ready to defend their land," she said.
"People who are out on bail and accompanied by those neck-deep in corruption, are seeking account (hisaab) of the Army's action," she added.
"Rahul (Gandhi) came to file nomination today but left without meeting the locals. After winning from here, he has gone to Wayanad to file nomination papers, while despite losing (from here) I am serving the people of Amethi," she said further.
"I looked after my parents and parents-in-law. I have been a member of Parliament from Gujarat and a minister. Despite all these responsibilities, I gave time to Amethi. Rahul Gandhi despite having time, only had disdain for Amethi," she said.
Flanked by family members during a road show, Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination papers at the local collectorate in Amethi.
The three-time Amethi MP was accompanied by UPA chairperson and mother Sonia Gandhi, sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Robert Vadra.
The two Vadra children were also part of the road show, through streets lined with Congress supporters, which ended at the collectorate.
Local leaders said the presence of the three generations of Gandhis was meant to convey the message that the constituency was important to the family.