Cabinet rejig: Irani loses I&B Ministry, Goyal gets addl charge of Finance

Adjust Comment Print

In a significant reshuffle late Monday (14 May) evening, Irani was shifted out of the I&B Ministry, and her deputy, Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, was handed over the portfolio.

On the other hand, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who also holding Coal Ministry, has been assigned to hold Finance Ministry till Arun Jaitley recovers.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here on Monday morning.

Smriti Irani assumed office as the Information and Broadcasting Minister in July 2017 following M Venkaiah Naidu's resignation from the ministry after NDA made him its Vice-Presidential candidate.

Alphons Kannanthanam, Minister of State, has been relieved of the charge of Minister of State of Electronics and Information Technology.

In another development yesterday the I&B Ministry was taken away from Smriti Irani and handed to Rajyavardhan Rathore who already has the sports and youth portfolio.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Goyal expressed happiness over the successful surgery, on Twitter.

According to a report in Press Trust of India, nephrologist Sandeep Guleria from Apollo Hospital, also brother of AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, who is a family friend of Jaitley, was part of the team performing the transplant. Also he is seen to have brought positive changes in the sports ministry as minister with independent charge since past year. Authoritative sources say that this would perhaps be the first ever instance in any government of an erstwhile party treasurer tasked with raising party funds getting charge of the Ministry of Finance.

Another possibility, however, being discussed is that Irani's burden may have been eased so that her services are taken for poll campaigns across the key States like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh this year and the general elections next year. He was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha from Jaipur (Rural) and sworn in as the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting in November 2014, a position he held until now.

Smriti Irani after being stripped off the prestigious I&B Ministry will only handle Textile Ministry.

Irani was also criticised by Opposition leaders for staying silent during the controversy surrounding the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat.