New Delhi: Giving a clear message that controversy is no substitute for good work, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday removed his one-time handpicked high-profile Smriti Irani from the crucial Human Resource Development Ministry and gave her the responsibility of the low-profile Textiles Ministry. This is being viewed as a snub for the former HRD Minister as Irani, a Rajya Sabha member, was personally chosen by Modi to run the human resource development ministry in 2014 despite the move getting red-flagged by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Irani's stint has been marred by major controversies over protests in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in Delhi and also the students' protest over the death of scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad. Angry protests and campus violence had been reported from various other universities too.
The role of the RSS in getting the former TV actress-turned-politician divested in one of the most sought after portfolios is not ruled out, as the Prime Minister carried out the exercise after repeated consultations with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, among others.
Reportedly, Shah reached out to the RSS leaders and took their inputs. Seeking to give a message that he is sensitive to popular will and also to the wishes of RSS leadership, Modi brought in Javadekar, originally a Pune-based politician, for the crucial responsibility of handling the HRD ministry.
Javadekar as Environment Minister seemed to have left a positive impact on Prime Minister and the Sangh Parivar leadership with his industry-friendly moves, carrying out of Swach Bharat campaign in a mission mode and also pursuing environment diplomacy at the international level on climate change and related matters.
Javadekar is also credited with bringing the National and state Compensatory Afforestation Fund, paving the way to unlocking of nearly Rs.41,000 crore earmarked for forest land, lying unspent.
In fact after the passage of the bill in Lok Sabha on May 3 with support from major opposition parties, even Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had appreciated that the draft legislation was passed unanimously with members from different parties making their positive contribution by way of suggestions to improve the system.
In contrast to Javadekar, Smriti Irani has been mired mostly in controversies either related to the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and with the Left leaders besides occasional skirmishes with the Sangh Parivar elements. Besides found engaging in heated exchange of words with opposition members in Parliament, Irani did not quite go well with RSS leaders too.
During their, both formal and informal, consultation process, RSS leaders along with a few members from Sangh-affiliated educational bodies reportedly often found that as HRD Minister, Smiriti Irani was not quite easy to deal with, sources have said.