Over zealousness, controversies did Smriti Iraniin?

15 May,2018

 

By A Correspondent

 

There has been much speculation about the hows and whys of Smriti Zubin Iranibeing divested of her charge as Minister of Information and Broadcasting in a late evening announcement on Monday. Irani, who has held the portfolio of the human resources ministry in the past, made some controversial moves ever since she took charge of the ministry in July 2017. Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has been assigned independent charge as Minister of State in the MIB. According to sources, the Prime Minister has been happy with Rathore’s efficient and non-controversial handling of the sports ministry.

 

While the real reasons haven’t emerged yet, but in an election year, it was clear that the Prime Minister needs the media on his side. Ever since she assumed charge, there have been a number of controversies:

1. The IFFI films selection

2. The Fake News Issue

3. Proposed regulation of online news media

4. The Prasar Bharati imbroglio

5. The National Awards presentation

 

What really did Irani in was the National Awards presentation where the office of the President was embarrassed in what was clearly an avoidable controversy. This coupled with much opposition from a cross-section of media – including some friendly media honchos – ensured that the Minister would lose her portfolio.

 

Meanwhile, some loyalists of Irani scoff at suggestions of her being axed and tell us that the reason for her exiting I&B is that given that the general elections are a year away, there is need for attention in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi’s constituency. Also, they believe that while Irani is being discredited for the controversial moves, she could well be implementing what her seniors may have asked her to do.

 

Whatever be the reason (and the scenarios), industry players at the receiving end of the whims of the I&B ministry (note, not necessarily minister) will heave a sigh of relievf.

 

Though, as this publication’s editor, told us, that many I&B Ministers in the past have come up with some bizarre decisions. Like the first I&B minister KV Keskar banned the play of Hindi film songs on radio leading to the emergence of Radio Ceylon.

 

Phew!

 

The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, directed the reallocation of portfolios amongst members of the Union Council of Ministers.

 

 

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