I&B ministry portfolio ends 'political vanvas' of Smriti Irani?
New Delhi, July 18: Back in 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi during government formation at the Centre decided to give the plump portfolio of Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry to Smriti Irani, protests were heard within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, within two years she was shunted out of the HRD ministry and replaced by "much-matured and much-efficient" Prakash Javadekar during a major cabinet reshuffle by the PM in June 2016.
The reason for her "transfer" from the all-important HRD ministry to the lesser known Textile ministry was seen by many as a "punishment".
While Irani was at the helm of the HRD ministry, several controversies rocked the country, including the nation-wide students' agitation in the wake of the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad.
The "mishandling" of Vemula's case and other important education-related issues led to Irani's departure from the HRD ministry.
Since then Irani was literally leading a "quiet" life as the Textile ministry offers nothing much to talk about. However, once in a while she managed to hog the limelight for her attack against Rahul Gandhi.
Irani fought the parliamentary elections against the Congress vice president from the Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh in 2014. Irani lost the elections to Gandhi, but she managed to garner a lot of support from voters in the Congress bastion.
On Tuesday, as soon as the PM made the announcement of giving the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry portfolio to Irani, a day after M Venkaiah Naidu, who was handling the ministry, was picked to be the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) Vice Presidential candidate, it created a lot of "political" buzz.
The Urban Development ministry, which was also being handled by Naidu, has been given to Narendra Singh Tomar.
"M Venkaiah Naidu has resigned from his ministerial responsibilities. The additional charge of the Ministry of I&B has been given to Smriti Irani," Modi tweeted.
"Additional charge of Moud_India (Ministry of Urban Development) has been given to Tomar," he said.
Irani already heads the Textile ministry, while Tomar is in charge of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
Till the filing of this report, Irani did not make any comment on her latest "promotion".
Generally, Irani, a former actress-turned-politician, is very active on Twitter.
On Monday, she tweeted and congratulated Naidu for being made the VP candidate of the NDA. However, she is yet to tweet about her new ministerial position.
While her supporters welcomed the PM's decision, her detractors felt that Irani, infamous for her fights with journalists, would further "muzzle" the press.
On Tuesday, the hashtag--Smriti Irani--trended on Twitter. Here we bring you a few tweets:
Smriti Irani becomes I&B ministry...Be ready for more Ekta Kapoor shows as #nepotismrocks...Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi— Kunal (@ikunalN) July 18, 2017
Smriti Irani given additional charge of Ministry of I&B..— Raju Srivastav (@Raju_Srivstav) July 18, 2017
NDTV: have to Careful now.
Rajdeep: Choose ur words carefully.
Republic: As usual
Rahul Gandhi when informed about Smriti Irani being given the additional charge of I&B pic.twitter.com/y0xxAJ2V7h— Dhiraj Ahuja 🇮🇳 (@DhirajAhuja1108) July 18, 2017