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Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
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smriti irani

Smriti, A Fading Memory?

From being the party and the PM’s blue-eyed girl, the Union HRD minister seems headed for a fall from grace

Smriti, A Fading Memory?
Illustration by Saahil
Smriti, A Fading Memory?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

On May 26, after the grand swearing-in ceremony of the Narendra Modi government, the most beaming face in the BJP was that of Smriti Irani. At 38, she had been made a cabinet minister and was being projected as the new woman face of the party. With her trademark sindoor and flashing  eyes, the actress-politician accepted congratulations as if it was her due. Commentators on TV debates waxed eloquent about how this bright young woman, who had fought a gritty battle against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, now represented the future of the BJP. She epitomised Indian womanhood, it was said. She smiled and accepted many congratulations before the cameras.

But less than a year into office as Union HRD minister, the script for Tulsi, the legendary part Smriti Irani played in the country’s most famous saas-bahu TV serial, is going wrong. From queen bee, she is now in danger of becoming queen-been. She has already been dropped from the party’s national executive set up by party president Amit Shah. And the buzz in BJP circles is that she is likely to “be cut to size”. The possible scenarios being discussed are as follows: that she may lose the HRD portfolio and be shifted to a less significant ministry; that she may be altogether dropped from the cabinet and put to party work; that even if she somehow survives in HRD (she is naturally resisting an ouster and is doing her own counter-lobbying in the party and Sangh parivar), her wings would still be clipped and powerful advisors or an MoS will be brought in.

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