NEW DELHI: In an emotional speech in Parliament today, Union Minister Smriti Irani hit out at the opposition for targeting her on the suicide of Hyderabad research student Rohith Vemula last month.
"My name is Smriti Irani. I challenge you to ask me my caste," the Education Minister said, rubbishing allegations that Rohith was persecuted because he was a Dalit.
"No one can raise a finger against me on this issue. I am taking it personally," she said, her voice catching.
In a 50-minute speech that saw her furious, sarcastic and choked up in parts, Ms Irani also laboured the point that she had been targeted by the Congress because of her work in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi's constituency.
"Have you ever seen Rahul Gandhi go to one spot twice? Never. But in this, he saw political opportunity," said the minister.
"Our children are not vote-banks," she thundered.