Women in politics

India P.M. removes controversial female politician ahead of elections

Smriti Irani addresses party workers during a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) election campaign rally ahead of state assembly elections for Assam in Karimganj on March 30, 2016. (ARINDAM DEY/AFP/Getty Images)

One of India’s most controversial female politicians was removed from her post in nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet and sent to a less high-profile job, according to The Washington Post.  Smriti Irani, a 40-year-old lightning rod for controversies, including Twitter spats with opponents and nearly causing a brawl on a television show, had been the head of the Human Resource Development Ministry, which oversees education in India. Education has been a key platform for Modi’s nationalist party, which wants to strip the school system of liberal bias and a Eurocentric focus, according to the report. Irani has even been accused of “Hindu-izing” the school system during her tenure in the post.

But as Irani, a former television soap opera star who is frequently lambasted for being uneducated and unfit for political office, found herself embroiled in many controversies in her short tenure, from her questionable college credentials to serious crackdowns on university protests, she was removed from her post and reassigned to the Textiles Ministry. The reshuffle was part of Modi’s bid to help his party win state-level elections next year, according to the report.

Read more about Smriti Irani’s removal and career at the Washington Post.

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