NEW DELHI: Union minister Smriti Irani was moved out of the crucial Information and Broadcasting ministry in a reshuffle of the cabinet this evening. The portfolio will now be fully handled by Rajyavardhan Rathore, who was the junior minister in the department.
Ms Irani was given the vital Information and Broadcasting portfolio as an additional charge last July when Venkaiah Naidu resigned after emerging as NDA's pick for the post of the vice-president. She will retain charge of the textiles ministry which she has been handling since July 2016.
A communique from the office of President Ram Nath Kovind said Railways minister Piyush Goyal will also handle Finance Ministry till Arun Jaitley, who underwent a kidney surgery today, recovers.
The transfer came after several controversies during her two-year tenure, including anger across campuses after Dalit student Rohith Vemula killed himself in Hyderabad after alleging persecution by university officials over his caste.
President Kovind's office also said SS Ahluwalia, who was the junior minister for drinking water and telecom, will be the minister of state for the Department of Electronics and Information Technology. He replaces Alphons Kannanthanam, who will retain charge of tourism ministry.
The last big reshuffle in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet took place in September, when Nirmala Sitharaman was given charge of the defence portfolio and Piyush Goyal took over Railways from Suresh Prabhu.