India

Smriti Irani loses key India ministry in cabinet reshuffle

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Smriti Irani waits for her vehicle at the Indian Parliament in New Delhi Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Smriti Irani has been appointed the new textiles minister

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has moved controversial minister Smriti Irani from the education department as part of a major cabinet reshuffle.

She has left her job as human resource development minister, but will remain in the cabinet as textiles minister.

Mr Modi has also inducted 19 new ministers in his government in a bid to improve efficiency.

The new ministers, including former journalist MJ Akbar and MP Arjun Ram Meghwal, were sworn-in on Tuesday.

Ms Irani has been replaced by former environment minister Prakash Javadekar.

Senior cabinet ministers - Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar - have retained their posts.

Ms Irani's critics often accused her of bringing right-wing ideas to India's education system - allegations she always denied.

But under her watch, several universities witnessed protests from students over issues of discrimination and freedom of speech.

Twitter users were divided over the news, some praised Ms Irani for her work but others felt relieved that she had been removed from the education ministry.

Image copyright Rajiv Kunwar Bajaj
Image copyright SriHari
Image copyright Nattha

Some who were happy with the change tweeted using the #ByeByeSmriti:

Image copyright Shaurya Shekhar
Image copyright Navin Khaitan

Eye on elections

Meanwhile, the inclusion of three new ministers from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh is seen as an attempt to boost Mr Modi's party's chances of winning state elections due in 2017.

The government now has 13 ministers from India's most populous state.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Modi expects his ministers to promote his policies

Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 73 out of 80 seats in the 2014 general election and it is hoping for a big win in next year's assembly polls.

The state has been ruled by regional parties for the past 15 years.

Correspondents say that Mr Modi will expect his new ministers to promote his policies in Uttar Pradesh to attract voters.

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