Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Rajyavardhan Rathore is I&B Minister

Rajyavardhan Rathore is I&B Minister

Piyush Goyal will handle Finance Ministry till Arun Jaitley, who underwent a kidney surgery, recovers.

In a major Cabinet reshuffle of the Union government, Rajyavardhan Rathore has replaced Smriti Irani as the new I&B minister.

In a late evening communique, Rashtrapati Bhavan also said that SS Ahluwalia would be the junior minister for electronics and information technology instead of KJ Alphons, the MoS (independent charge) for tourism. Darjeeling MP and minister of state S.S. Ahluwalia has been shifted from the drinking water and sanitation ministry to the electronics and information technology ministry.

PM Narendra Modi reshuffled his cabinet in the wake of Union Minister Arun Jaitley's successful kidney transplant operation and possible rehabilitation phase of 6-8 weeks. In April, an attempt to introduce stringent guidelines to curb fake news - which was strongly opposed by the media - was withdrawn on the orders of the Prime Minister. Despite losing the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amethi to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, she was inducted in the Modi government on May 26, 2014 as a human resource development minister. She was earlier removed has HRD Minister and offered the charge of Textiles which she still continues to hold.

It is not immediately known what led to the removal of Irani from the crucial I&B Ministry.

Irani has been embroiled in numerous controversies, including a failed bid to punish journalists accused of broadcasting fake news.

Initially, Piyush Goyal appointed as Minister of Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy. The announcement means that Smriti Irani has been sidelined as I&B minister. Rathore will now take independent charge of the portfolio.

The fact that Goyal was picked to head the finance ministry despite recent allegations of impropriety and conflict of interest with regard to his businesses clearly shows he has the BJP leadership's complete backing and is in for a long haul.

It may be recalled that when external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj underwent a renal transplant, Modi had not given any other minister additional charge of her portfolio, preferring to keep it to himself.

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