ABP News has courted another controversy after one of its anchors invented a new educational qualification for Union Minister Smriti Irani. Rubika Liyaquat is facing criticism from the Rashtriya Janata Dal after she countered a member of the audience in her show by claiming that Irani had acquired an MA degree. Irani herself has now confessed to never completing her degree course as her Bachelor of Commerce degree remained incomplete.
Liyaquat was hosting a debate in the Darbhanga district of Bihar with her guests including leaders from the BJP, the Congress, the JDU and the RJD. Right towards the end of the debate, a member of the audience asked her, “These people (JDU and BJP supporters) are saying that your leader (Tejashwi Yadav) is only Class 9 passed. I want to remind them about their own leader Smriti Irani, who is also a union minister. What’s her degree?”
While neither the BJP representative nor any supporter from the party showed any willingness to answer his question, Liyaquat countered the member of the audience with a huge sense of conviction. She said, “She’s MA passed. She’s acquired an MA degree through correspondence course.” She then repeated her incorrect fact twice by saying, “She (Irani) has done MA. She has done MA.”
This wasn’t the only time when Liyaquat was seen fiercely defending Irani. Another member of the audience reminded her about Irani’s confession in this year’s affidavit that she wasn’t even a graduate and yet she held the country’s education portfolio. Pat came another defence from Liyaquat on behalf of Irani, “She is no longer the education minister.”
Liyaquat was also seen joining the mocking of Lalu Prasad Yadav by a member of the audience. When a man mockingly asked if Lalu Yadav was in jail for taking part in the freedom struggle, the ABP News anchor joined in the laughter. When the RJD guest hinted at political vendetta behind the jailing of Lalu Yadav, Liyaquat once again asked mockingly, “Is Lalu Prasad Yadav writing Discovery of India inside the jail?”
As expected, the RJD reacted angrily and took a potshot at the channel and its anchor. The official Twitter handle of the RJD tweeted, “When BJP anchors like @RubikaLiyaquat becomes BJP leaders. This is Bihar Madam, rather than learning journalism, they will teach you journalism. Ask your colleague @anuraagmuskaan, what he did in Munger. It’s Bihar…बिहार है ये बिहार..यहाँ उड़ती चिड़िया को हल्दी लगाते है।”
In another tweet, the RJD responded to a user’s question asking where Irani had acquired her MA degree from, the RJD’s official Twitter handle wrote sarcastically, “From the college of Dad Modi’s Gujrat College.”
मोदी अब्बू के गुजराती कॉलेज से.. https://t.co/qIMydX8qvg
— Rashtriya Janata Dal (@RJDforIndia) April 18, 2019
Not so long ago, another ABP News anchor, Anurag Muskan, had faced criticism for addressing the RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav disparagingly.