A video of Union Minister Smriti Irani losing her cool after being asked about rising prices of tomato across the country went viral on Saturday. Irani was attending a summit hosted by national television channel Aaj Tak.
During an interaction at the Aaj tak G20 summit, Chaudhary asked Irani, "Was there a discussion in your home when tomatoes were selling at ₹250-300 per kgs?”
In response, Smriti Irani said Chaudhary was trivialising the issue. The Aaj Tak anchor then labelled the union minister's response as 'whataboutery'.
To this, an infuriated Irani replied and said, “I can also ask Sudhir Ji, what happened when you were in jail?”
Watch the video here:
Irani was referring to the instance when the popular news anchor was imprisoned on the charges of trying to extort a businessman.
Why Did Sudhir Chaudhary go to jail?
In November 2012, Chaudhary and his colleague Sameer Ahluwalia faced arrest on charges of extortion. This occurred after businessman Naveen Jindal claimed that the two journalists had attempted to extort ₹100 Crore worth of advertisements from his company. In return, they were allegedly willing to suppress stories linking the Jindal Group with the Coalgate scam. As a result, the journalists were held in 14-day judicial custody at Tihar Jail before being released on bail.
Following these accusations, Chaudhary's role as the treasurer of the Broadcast Editors' Association came under scrutiny. The Association suspended him from his position, citing concerns that his actions were detrimental to its interests and objectives. In July 2018, the Jindal Group informed investigating agencies that a settlement had been reached. They urged the agencies to withdraw the allegations against the journalists and close the case. Coincidentally, on the same day, charges of bribery were filed against Jindal and other individuals associated with the case.
Irani gets nostalgic about her journey
During the same interaction, when Sudhir Chaudhary asked Irani if she is confident about being elected once again like the PM had expressed about himself, the former TV actress reminisced about working under Chaudhary in 1995 as a 'stringer'.
"If you had asked me back then if I will sit on a same stage with Sudhir Chaudhary and have a debate...," Irani said and gestured that she would have considered it impossible back then.
"I am Sevak of people. I should not have any ego. I don't have a misunderstanding that I am bigger than a national editor just because I am a cabinet minister," Irani said.
Irani hits out at Rahul Gandhi's 'flying kiss' again
During the interaction, in response to the reported "flying kiss" incident involving Rahul Gandhi during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development described Gandhi's behavior as "despicable."
“A man who did not have the decency to conduct himself in Parliament,” Irani said.
“A person from the Gandhi dynasty may not have an interest in Parliament, but can you imagine that a female Cabinet minister who happens to be there now has to gleefully talk about why did the man do what he did? Why should I? It was shame on him...not me, or any other woman who was there that day severing our country in Parliament,” she said.
“Where it happened is the most dignified place of the Constitution. It is the house of the people. Laws are formulated there for women's respect,” she went on to add.
Shiv Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi on Sunday (August 20) reacted to the Smriti Irani's interview and took a dig at the Union Minister. "Asked about the price of tomato madam minister got into whataboutery besides personal attacking a well established BJP sympathising anchor. Reminds one of her response to Manipur, spoke less of accountability but more of damning other states. But yes funny to watch the in house kalesh… the soapEra is never ending.. just moved from entertainment to newstainment," wrote Priyanka Chaturvedi on X (formerly Twitter).