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Cabinet reshuffle: Seven controversies that snatched HRD ministry from Smriti Irani

High Profile Smriti Irani Faced A Significant Drop In Portfolio After She Was Moved To Textile From Education With Prakash Javadekar Replacing Her. Here Are Seven Controversies That May Have Snatched Education Ministry From Smriti Irani.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Ankit Pal | Updated on: 06 Jul 2016, 08:30:57 AM

New Delhi:

High profile Smriti Irani faced a significant drop in portfolio after she was moved to textile from education with Prakash Javadekar replacing her.

The shifting of Irani, whose two-year tenure in the Human Resources Development(HRD) Ministry was marked by controversies over dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide in Hyderabad and the JNU row, triggered speculation whether it was a tactical move to give a less important portfolio or to be left free to be the face of BJP campaign in UP Assembly polls due in 2017.

Here are seven controversies that may have snatched education ministry from Smriti Irani.

1: Rohit Vemula and JNU row

Smriti Irani faced a lot of criticism for the manner she handled Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula's suicide case. Opposition parties triggered their loaded guns over her for allegedly distorting the facts.

In another row, involving the JNU students’ union, Opposition targeted Smriti Irani for allegedly defending central government’s action. She was also seen in her patriotic avatar as she tried to justify her actions in the case.

2: Sacking on University Vice Chancellors

For the first time in Indian history, two central university Vice Chancellors have been sacked within two years. This happened on her recommendations that placed a number of central university vice-chancellors at loggerheads with Smriti Irani.

3: Sanskrit in IITs

Smriti Irani suggested induction of Sanskrit in institutes of Indian Institute of Technology. She had come up with the idea to promote the language but this garnered a lot of eyebrows to her.

4: Education Qualification Row

Soon after Smriti Irani assumed charge as HRD Education minister, several questions were raised over her educational qualification. Critics argued how the country’s education portfolio could be handed to a person who had not even gone to college.

A case was also lodged against her for allegedly submitting contradictory educational documents to Election Commission. In her April 2004 affidavit to the EC Irani said she completed her BA in 1996 through a long-distance or correspondence programme from Delhi University. In 2014, ahead of the general elections, she claimed she had completed a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the School of Open Learning, Delhi University.

5: Good Governance Day

A call to celebrate Good Governance Day in schools on December 25 attracted criticism for Smriti Irani. The event asked students to make physical appearance on their holiday. Under attack, Irani clarified that it was voluntary and students who stayed back in hostels could observe December 25 as Good Governance Day.

6: Separate veg canteens

Smriti Irani's ministry came under fire once again after a proposal of separate canteens in IIT for vegetarian and non-vegetarian students. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury wrote a letter to Irani saying the government has no right to “police” food habits of students.

7: N-Scientist's resignation

Nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar resigned as the chairperson of IIT-Mumbai board in March last year alleging intervention from the HRD ministry in the selection of three IIT directors.

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First Published : 06 Jul 2016, 08:28:00 AM