Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani was on Wednesday given the additional charge of the ministry of minority affairs.
The development came after Bharatiya Janata Party’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Janata Dal (United) leader RCP Singh resigned from the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, a day before the completion of their Rajya Sabha terms. While Naqvi was the Union minister for minority affairs, Singh was the Union minister for steel.
BJP’s Jyotiraditya Scindia, who handles the civil aviation department, has been given the additional charge of the ministry of steel.
President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the resignations of Naqvi and Singh. He reassigned their portfolios to Irani and Scindia on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a press release from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
In a tweet, Irani thanked Modi for handing over the ministry to her.
“I will continue to fulfill the given responsibility with full devotion and resolve to serve the country through the welfare of minority sections,” she added.
Naqvi’s exit has left the BJP with no Muslim MP for the first time in its history, Al Jazeera reported. He had taken oath as a minister on May 30, 2019. In the first Narendra Modi-led government, he was initially the minister of state for minority affairs. He was given independent charge of the minority affairs ministry after Najma Heptulla resigned in 2016.
Reports speculated that Naqvi is being considered for the post of vice president after India faced a diplomatic backlash for the comments about Prophet Muhammad made by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.