Smriti Irani shifted from HRD Ministry to be projected as face of BJP's campaign in UP polls?

High profile Smriti Irani was on Tuesday night shifted from the key HRD ministry to less significant Textiles portfolio. 

Updated: Jul 05, 2016, 23:14 PM IST

Delhi:  In a major rejig of the Narendra Modi government following the expansion on Tuesday, 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.

The shifting of Irani, whose two-year tenure in the Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry was marked by some controversies, triggered speculation whether it was a tactical move to give a less important portfolio to be left free to be the face of BJP campaign in UP Assembly polls due in 2017, as per PTI.

Irani replaced incumbent Santosh Gangwar who will be now the Minister of State for Finance. Former bureaucrat Arjun Meghwal, who was inducted in today'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).

PM Modi inducted 19 new faces, including BJP leaders SS Ahluwalia, MJ Akbar and Vijay Goel in the second expansion of his government ahead of political battles in Uttar Pradesh and other states. 

(With Agency inputs)