The controversial minister will now handle textiles; portfolios of other senior leaders also shaken and stirred
New Delhi: In a major rejig of the Narendra Modi government following the expansion yesterday, Smriti Irani was replaced as Human Resource Minister by Prakash Javadekar, while Ravi Shankar Prasad was divested of Communications but given Law and Venkaiah Naidu additional charge of the I&B Ministry.
Irani has been made Textiles Minister, replacing incumbent Santosh Gangwar who will be now the Minister of State for Finance. Former bureaucrat Arjun Meghwal, who was inducted in Tuesday's expansion, has also been made Minister of State in the crucial ministry, headed by Arun Jaitley.
Jaitley, who also held
additional charge of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, divests it to Naidu. While Naidu will retains his existing Urban Development and Housing portfolio, he will be replaced as Parliamentary Affairs Minister by Ananth Kumar, who remains Chemical and Fertiliser Minister. Jayant Sinha, who was junior minister in the finance ministry, now becomes Minister of State for Civil Aviation, while Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha will hold the Communications portfolio too as Minister of State (Independent Charge).
Sena 'hurt' at exclusion
The Shiv Sena-BJP rift is set to widen further after the former failed to get any berth in the yesterday's cabinet expansion, prompting Sena to issue a veiled threat to the saffron partner that it will remember this during the 2017 BMC polls and other local body polls across Maharashtra. Grumbling that BJP 'took it for granted', Sena said it felt 'hurt' by the treatment meted out to it but asserted that it would not go begging for favours.
Avoid negative headlines: Swaraj to media
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj could not attend the swearing-in ceremony due to a diplomatic engagement and, anticipating a negative headline in the media, she explained the reason for her absence well ahead of the event. “Media - Pl avoid the headline: Sushma skips Oath Ceremony, Swaraj tweeted two hours before the oath ceremony.
President Mukherjee corrects RPI (A) chief Ramdas Athawale after he forgot to mention his name while taking oath. Pic/PTI
Athawale 'forgets' his name
RPI (A) leader Ramdas Athawale yesterday forgot to mention his name while taking oath as a Minister of State — but was quickly corrected by President Pranab Mukherjee. The President corrected him, saying: “Apna naam boliye (speakout your name)”. Athawale paused for a moment and corrected himself saying “Sorry, sorry” and completed his oath-taking.