Smriti Irani, arguably India’s most Twitter savvy minister after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hasn’t tweeted in several hours now.
But, #ByeByeSmriti is a top trend on Twitter since Tuesday night.
Though she’s changed her Twitter bio to reflect the change from human resource development minister to “Union Minister Government of India”, her prolonged silence has Lutyen’s Delhi abuzz with the speculation that she saw it coming. Irani was sounded out on Monday of a possible change, a source in the ruling BJP revealed.
The new Union textile minister’s last tweet – if you discount the numerous retweets the last of which came 18 hours ago and most of which were original tweets of the Prime Minister’s office or the government’s official handle – came on Monday afternoon.
It was a quick and somewhat muted response to someone thanking her for helping out.
“Glad to be of help,” she replied to a research scholar at Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad thanking her, the HRD ministry and PM Modi for “intervening” on a fee hike.
Last known, Irani was not on the best of terms with research scholars. Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president and research scholar Kanhaiya Kumar – charged with sedition for a function held on the JNU campus – even demanded her resignation for the death of Hyderabad University research scholar Rohith Vemula.
A few hours earlier, Irani had tweeted a tribute to Swami Vivekananda on his Nirvan Diwas.
This is rather unusual for Irani some of whose tweets created just as much controversy if not more as her handling of the HRD ministry and political opponents. Not known to mince words or withhold her jibes, despite her position in the Union cabinet, Irani’s spats in the past have yielded several Twitter trends in the past.
Her silence now could have her four million plus followers wondering #WhereIsSmriti?