Bihar minister calls Irani ‘dear’, triggers spat on Twitter


A WAR of words broke out on Twitter between HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Bihar Education Minister Ashok Choudhury Tuesday over the new National Education Policy.

It started with Irani taking offence to the Congress leader addressing her as “dear” in a tweet. “Dear Smriti Irani ji, if you ever find time from politics and speeches, then please focus on the new education policy,” he tweeted Tuesday morning, when the BJP leader was in Bhagalpur to attend a party event marking the two-year anniversary of the NDA government.

Irani shot back, asking since when did he start addressing women as “dear” and reminded him that she has always addressed Choudhury as “respected”. A heated exchange of tweets unfolded from this point with the Congress leader accusing Irani of not addressing the real issue. “Not to disrespect but educate…Professional emails start with ‘dear’,” Choudhury replied.

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The conversation then veered to the new education policy with Irani saying that Bihar was probably the only state which had not conducted grassroots-level consultations to collate inputs for the drafting of the policy. She revealed details of an earlier meeting with the Bihar Education Minister in which she apparently asked him to allot land for the new central university and a Kendriya Vidyalaya in the state and also fill two lakh vacant posts for teachers.

Choudhury launched a counter-attack, tweeting, “@smritiirani ji has learnt a lot from Modiji… Fake promises and shifting blame to others for non-delivery is lesson1 in Sangh’s book.”

Irani again tweeted, saying, “Sir I hope you do find time in your busy schedule to contribute to the education policy. Await state feedback.”

Bihar’s deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav too jumped in and tweeted, “Just asking out of curiosity is “Dear” an offensive word or it becomes when a Min from Dalit community calls so?”

Later in the day, Choudhury told reporters that he was only enquiring about when the government will release the new education policy and that he feels there is nothing offensive about being addressed as “dear”. “But I still apologise to Smriti Irani ji if I have hurt her feelings in any way,” he said.

This is not the first time that the HRD Minister was embroiled in a Twitter spat. Last month, she had locked horns with Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, who had asked about the minister’s security.

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