sushma lok sabha speech
Smriti Irani backed Sushma Swaraj and slammed the Gandhi family.Reuters

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani lashed out at the Congress on Friday after the party top brass attacked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj over her impassioned clarification on Lalit Modi row.

Irani hit back at the Congress, saying that it is easy to give a byte than to speak in Parliament.

"People in this country know that a woman coming from a normal family has to toil hard to make a space for herself in the society and its economy. It is generally seen that children of such women also work hard. Congress may have an exception in the Gandhi family where they don't have to sweat it out in the sun to earn their livelihood. I completely deny their charges," she said.

Swaraj had made an emotional speech in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, saying she had helped former IPL chairman Lalit Modi's ailing wife only on humanitarian grounds.

Following the speech, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had called Swaraj an "expert in theatrics", sarcastically adding that unlike her, she would have gladly helped the cancer-stricken woman, but without breaking the law.

Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi went a step ahead, accusing Swaraj of taking a bribe from the tainted former cricket administrator to protect him.

"When a theft occurs, two things take place. Whatever happens is in secrecy and there is a financial transfer. What Sushmaji did was by maintaining secrecy and keeping her ministry in the dark," Rahul was quoted as saying by PTI.

"Sushmaji should tell the country how much money her family, her daughter and husband got from Lalit Modi to keep him out of jail," he said.

Congress has been demanding Swaraj's resignation ever since it emerged that she assisted Lalit Modi in his travel to Portugal in 2014 by recommending the British government to provide him with travel documents.

Modi, who is living in exile in the UK, is wanted in India in connection with charges of financial irregularities and money laundering.

(With agency inputs)

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