Late on Tuesday evening when the government announced changes in several portfolios, there were several surprises in store, the biggest among them was the transfer of human resources development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani to the textiles ministry.
So, what led to the move, which is being seen by many as a snub for the actor-turned politician? While we will never know for sure, since there has been no official word on it (and there is unlikely to be one), here are a few reasons that might have led to her ouster from the high-profile portfolio:
1. Abrasive attitude:
A report in The Economic Times said that Irani had antagonised the senior leadership both of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) because of her aggressive stance on various issues. The report said that what irked the Sangh leadership was the fact that Irani publicly sparred with several minor opposition figures. She even had spats with senior BJP ministers including JP Nadda, Venkaiah Naidu and even Arun Jaitley, the report noted.
2. Student protests:
Her tenure witnessed several student agitations across several universities, including at the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the handling of the controversy surrounding the suicide of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student at the Hyderabad University, which gave the opposition a handle to disrupt Parliament and stall key legislative business.
Irani could not get an officer on special duty (OSD) of her choice appointed after the Intelligence Bureau reportedly raised an alarm over his supposed corporate links.
4. Twitter warrior:
Irani’s aggressive stance was evident on several occasions when she got into spats with leaders of other parties and even some senior journalists on Twitter. This apparently did not go down well with the party leadership.
5. UP elections:
Some reports also suggest that Irani could eventually be drafted into party work ahead of the crucial 2017 elections in Uttar Pradesh.
(Aman Malik is Senior Assistant Editor at VCCircle.)
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