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     Congress on Wednesday demanded that Smriti Irani resign as HRD minister after a trial court took cognizance of a complaint about her educational qualifications, the party taking pleasure in the fact that PM Narendra Modi's weapon to take on Rahul Gandhi was on the back foot.

    AICC spokesman Ajay Maken said Irani could not be the minister in-charge of education when an inquiry seeking details from Delhi University about her degrees was on. "Is it not a conflict of interest? She should resign or the PM should remove her," he said.

    Maken reminded that Congress had raised the issue immediately after the PM constituted his Cabinet as Irani's election affidavits had serious discrepancies with different claims about her degrees.

    NSUI, the Congress's students' outfit, held a demonstration in front of Shastri Bhavan which houses the HRD ministry to seek Irani's resignation. Shouting slogans, NSUI members burnt her effigy. NSUI chief Roji John said, "It is an insult to the academic and student community that a person who is not clear about her own educational qualifications is the country's HRD minister. She must resign."
    Congress is set to pile more pressure with the party's Delhi unit deciding to hold a protest at Jantar Mantar seeking Irani's resignation on Thursday.

    For the party aggressively pursuing 'Modigate', the court observation on Irani has brought special relish that goes beyond the satisfaction of punching holes in BJP's claim of "scam-free" governance.

    BJP had lately deployed Irani to take on Rahul after the latter's post-sabbatical aggression against Modi government, especially the PM, in Parliament.

    Irani's forays into Rahul's constituency Amethi reflected a strategy to tie down Rahul to his seat and cut down on his national campaign. The HRD minister contested unsuccessfully against Rahul in the 2014 polls. After Rahul accused the Centre of "politics of revenge" for cancelling the food park in Amethi, Irani held a rally in the UP town attacking the Congress leader. She then challenged that "the Gandhis would be seeing more of me in Amethi".
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