Bikram Vohra on the implications of removing Smriti Irani from the HRD ministry
The only saving grace in the unmitigated arrogance of the largely forgotten Kanhaiya Kumar, advising and warning Prakash Javadekar about how to do his job as the new HRD Minister, is that India, per se, does not care that much anymore about his pronouncements.
Unlike Round One, when this not-so-young-student (he still is one, isn’t he?) was anointed as the freshly minted saviour. Nearly every one of his utterances received thousands of responses. He actually had a glee club. He was lionised and placed delicately on a pedestal. Now, these reactions have dwindled down to tens and twenties. Talk about the quintessential example of diminishing returns and the plummet in credibility and hope that perhaps here was a youthful messiah on a mission.
Now there is a blur. Is he a student leader or a politician in the making? But even though the flagpole is slippery, the visibly slithering student leader is still trying to cling to some sort of tattered and faded glory. It is tough to quantify what he has achieved in the interim besides a few imaginably fiery speeches at various campuses and a Three Stooges type ‘assassination’ attempt aboard a local flight but stabbing Smriti Irani and crowing about her being moved to another ministry is hardly mature and edifying.
Why is it such a matter of excitement in some quarters that Irani has been moved to a Rs 6,000-crore textile industry. She is not out by a long shot. There seems to be some nexus being created in the shift indicating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was compelled to move her because of pressure from students, what with the Uttar Pradesh elections skulking around the corner.
Ergo, he had to appease them. Kanhaiya Kumar’s self deception knows no bounds and whether you are pro-Modi or not it is difficult to visualise him sitting with his colleagues, sweating bricks and saying we have to appease Kanhaiya and his cohorts, let’s give them Smriti to satisfy their bloodlust. Get over it, please, it just does not happen this way and it is laughable that the JNU student president should slurp at that straw of self-delusion.
The volley fired across Javadekar’s bows by Kanhaiya that he better not follow in Smriti’s footsteps, a reaction to the newcomer saying the policies would continue is another example of personal PR, a sad attempt to propel oneself through what he sees as the misfortunes of others.
It is almost as if Javadekar is being advised to check up with the student leader before he makes any decision. To his credit. he has not gone for the baited hook and is saying nothing. Good, that’s the right way to go.
Perhaps it is time to let the good people of Africa (?) take sustenance by defrosting the KK thesis and advise him to let us make up our own minds on how Prakash Javadekar will function and not be so crass in indirectly taking credit for Smriti’s departure. Neither premises have wings.