Smriti Irani shifted from HRD to Textiles,Javadekar elevated and replaces her. 19 New Ministers of State inducted in the Modi Cabinet.
“Modi”” alt=””Modi”” />In a major reshuffle of his Cabinet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday night shifted high-profile and controversial Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani to Textile Ministry and entrusted the newly-elevated Cabinet Minister Prakash Javadekar with the charge of Education Ministry. With an eye on elections in U.P., Uttarakhand and Gujarat, Mr. Modi inducted 19 new Ministers of State in his Cabinet, mostly dalit and OBC leaders from these States to give adequate representation to them at the Centre. With the induction of three new ministers, U.P. now has 16 ministers in the Union Cabinet. First time MP and Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel, belonging to Kurmi community, was given Health and Family Welfare portfolio.Political analysts feel that Smriti Irani whose handling of dalit student Rohith Vemula’s suicide in Hyderabad and JNU students’ agitation in the national Capital came in for criticism was given a less important department like Textiles with a view to allow her more time to concentrate on U.P. Speculation is rife that she could be the BJP’s face in 2017 assembly polls in the most populous State of the country. She has also made a number of visits to Amethi Lok Sabha constituency of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to whom she had lost in 2014 polls.Though Mr. Modi did not make big ticket changes in the portfolios of senior ministers, he relieved Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of his additional charge of Information and Broadcasting ministry and entrusted experienced hands of M. Venkaiah Naidu to handle it.Similarly, Union Law and Justice Minister Sadanand Gowda whose lacklustre peformance left much to be desired lost his ministry to Ravi Shankar Prasad who was initially given this ministry in 2014. Himself a senior lawyer, Mr. Prasad retains his charge of Information Technology and Electronics ministry. Mr. Gowda was shifted to Programme Implementation and Statistics ministry.Senior journalist and party spokesperson M. J. Akbar will be the junior minister in External Affairs Ministry where General (Retd) V K Singh handles Overseas Affairs. Both of them will work under External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Piyush Goel will be heading four ministries independently — Power, Coal, Mines, and New and Renewable Energy.Mr. Javadekar who was on a visit to Germany was called back and was the only Minister of State with independent charge of Environment Ministry to have been elevated to the Cabinet rank in Tuesday’s expansion of the Union Cabinet. His place was taken by new Minister Anil Dave in Paryavaran Bhawan. Vijay Goel, a senior BJP leader from Delhi who represents Rajasthan in Rajya Sabha, will look after Sports Ministry after vacancy occurred there due to Sarbanand Sonowal taking over as Assam Chief Minister.Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha was shifted to Civil Aviation Ministry and Mr. Jaitley now gets two new deputies in the North Block — Arjun Meghwal from Rajasthan and Santosh Gangwar from U.P.The Prime Minister also dropped five Ministers of State. They are Sanwar Lal Jat, Nihalchand, Ram Shankar Katheria, Mansukh Bhai Vasva and Mohanlal Kundaria.With this expansion after two years of taking over reigns at the Centre, Mr. Modi’s cabinet strength goes up to 78 ministers, including 27 Cabinet rank ministers.”