New Delhi: Union Minister Smriti Irani turned out to be the biggest loser in the reshuffle of the Council of Ministers as she was shunted out of the politically crucial Human Resources Development Ministry. The decision to move Smriti to Textiles Ministry was deliberated between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, sources said.
While Modi was not keen to move Smriti away from HRD ministry, it was Shah who had made up his mind, sources said.
Smriti's move to Textiles Ministry has reportedly upset her as well. Many believed it was her cavalier attitude which had cost Smriti the HRD ministry.
Whether it was her own education qualification row or her handling of Jawaharlal Nehru University row or the death of Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula, Smriti was projected as the villain of the piece by many.
CNN-NEWS 18 also learnt that there was a perception within a section of the BJP that she was trying real hard to get in the camp of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He, too, for long didn't consider her in his good books. At a time when Jaitley himself has been hit by a barrage of controversies, it didn't go down well with the Sangh Parivar.
One of the reasons behind elevating Prakash Javadekar is no controversy, no combativeness and putting the right man for the political season.
However, sources close to Smriti insisted that textiles isn't a light weight ministry. This possibly could even be an entry point for her to officially lead the BJP charge in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress claimed the reshuffle was done with an eye on UP elections. "There is total focus on Uttar Pradesh elections. The non-performing assets are being moved from one place to another. There should be a logical reason for transfer. A performing minister has been shifted without any reason. It is basically the PM and PMO that matters," said Congress leader Tom Vadakkan.
Here are the top controversies that plagued Smriti's short tenure as HRD minister:
Smriti was accused of pushing for the punishment of Dalit students at Hyderabad University including Rohith Vemula after a complaint from her Cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya.
She faced flak for supporting the Central government's decision to arrest JNU students on charges of sedition.
She sparked a row after HRD Ministry took the decision to replace German with Sanskrit as the third language in Kendriya Vidyalayas in October 2014.
Her educational qualifications were questioned after she was appointed HRD Minister.
She was lampooned for saying he had a degree from Yale university when she actually attended a week-long course.
She faced flak for rolling back Delhi University's four-year university programme in 2014 just a year after it was initiated.
Accused for intervening in the affairs of IIT-Delhi prompting the resignation of Director RK Shevgaonkar in December 2014, two years before his term.
A number of bureaucrats in her ministry left for their parent cadre or other ministries alleging her high-handed way of functioning.
She came under fire after a letter from her ministry to IIT-Madras which led to the ban of the Ambedkar Periyar group.