“The CBI is investigating the matter…our government is with the victim’s family,” Smriti Irani said. (File)
In a major Cabinet reshuffle of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, just a year before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Smriti Irani was Monday replaced by her deputy Rajyavardhan Rathore as the new information and broadcasting minister. Irani, whose tenure was mired in controversy, is now left with the Textile Ministry only.
This is the second time that Irani has been moved from a key ministry as she was earlier shifted from the HRD Ministry to the relatively low-profile Textile Ministry. Notably, the latest development comes more than a month after the Irani-led I&B Ministry, following orders from the PMO, withdrew its press release which stated that journalists who “created” or “propagated” fake news would have lost their accreditation with the government. The guidelines drew sharp reaction from the opposition Congress and journalists.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said Rathore has been assigned the independent charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Meanwhile, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was given the additional charge of the Finance Ministry during the indisposition of Arun Jaitley. Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant today and is recovering. READ | Cabinet reshuffle: Smriti Irani removed as I&B minister, Piyush Goyal gets finance till Jaitley recovers
S S Ahluwalia has been relieved of the charge of Minister of State in Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry and assigned a new portfolio of Electronics and Information Technology, the communique said. Alphons Kannanthanam, who has been relieved as Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, continues as Minister of State for Tourism.
This is the fifth reshuffle in the council of ministers since the Narendra Modi led government came to power in May 2014. While in November 2014, July 2016 and September 2017, the cabinet saw induction of new ministers and a reshuffle of portfolios, in July 2017 and on Monday there were only lateral shifts in the council of ministers. Irani had been given the charge of the I&B Ministry in July 2017 when M Venkaiah Naidu had stepped down to successfully contest the election to become the Vice President of India.