I have a degree from Yale University: Smriti Irani

SansadTV Bureau

smriti_iraniThe controversy over HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications has taken a new turn with her assertion that she also has a degree from the prestigious Yale University in the US.

Irani (38) made the remark when pressed by a questioner at the India Today Woman Summit 2014 here to clear the “mystery” over her educational degrees.

Soon after the Lok Sabha results were announced on May 16, Irani was at the centre of a raging controversy over her educational qualifications after it emerged that she had made contradictory declarations when she contested the parliamentary elections in 2004 and 2014.

“In that kitty of mine where people call me ‘anpad’ (illiterate), I do have a degree from Yale University as well”, she said.

“Extraneous circumstances are being created so that I deviate my concentration from what my goals are”, she said at the event held on Saturday. The BJP leader said she should be judged from what she delivers as a minister.

Irani did not explain what the Yale degree was but she was part of a group of Indian MPs which underwent a crash course at the Yale University, during which the elections in India, the prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan after the US military withdrawal in 2014, the implications of political and economic transitions in China dominated.

The 11 Indian MPs went to the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut on June 19 last year to complete a six-day leadership program with Yale faculty.

In the academic program, the delegation participated in discussions with Yale faculty on nuclear non-proliferation; the democracy movement in the Arab world; women’s empowerment; elections theory and practices; political and economic developments in China; campaign finance reform; the environmental impact of shale gas development; Afghanistan and Pakistan after 2014; pharmaceutical innovation and patent law, and climate change mitigation.

The controversy over HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s educational qualifications rose when as a candidate in 2004 elections from Chandni Chowk in Delhi, Irani had declared that she had a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

“B.A. 1996 Delhi University (School of Correspondence)”, she had written in the column which seeks details of University education and the year in which the course was completed.

In the same column of the affidavit filed in the 2014 elections from Amethi, Irani had said, “Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi-1994″.

Reacting to Irani’s Yale link, Congress asked why she not mentioned this in her poll affidavit.