Smriti Irani challenges Kamal Hassan for an open debate with BJP candidate

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Coimbatore, Mar 27 (PTI) Union Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday challenged actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan to have an open debate with Vanathi Srinivasan, BJP's candidate for Coimbatore South constituency, after he took on the Centre on issues of development in his campaigns.

Haasan is also contesting from this Constituency.

Addressing the 'North India Community Outreach Programme', organised at Gujarati Samaj here, the BJP leader recalled that she had participated in a debate with him a few years back.

'I challenge Kamal Haasan to come for a debate with Vanathi Srinivasan, to prove to the people who is it that really knows the issues well, gives solutions and implements policies.' Reeling out statistics on infrastructUre development, she said the Centre has built 10 crore toilets nationwide, of which 90 lakh was in Tamil Nadu.

Similarly, the PM initiated the Jandhan scheme through which government was able to directly transfer money to people's accounts, benefiting 40 crore people all over the country, of which 90 lakh were in Tamil Nadu The state received 1.25 crore drinking water taps of the five crore installed in India in the last two years, she said, speaking in Gujarati and Hindi.

A central government scheme through which farmers get Rs 6,000 annually had benefited 10 crore of them and 50 lakh of them were in Tamil Nadu, the minister said.

The Centre has also sanctioned 11 medical colleges and an AIIMS for Tamil Nadu, she said.

'All this was possible because the people of India blessed and elected Narendra Modi as Prime Minister... who chose to be the first public servant of the nation,' she said Appealing the people to cast their votes for the BJP on April 6, she said 'Lakshmi (goddess of wealth) is coming not with torch, but on Kamal (Lotus).' Later, replying to a question from reporters on why she targetted only Kamal Hassan when other parties, including Congress, were in the fray, she quipped 'Congress is not at all in the picture.' PTI NVM APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR