In this part of the exclusive interview with Smriti Irani, the Union minister for textiles tells MyNation editor-in-chief Abhijit Majumder that there were reasons that made some prominent journalists and the media houses they worked for heave a sigh of relief
New Delhi: In the first interview after the December Assembly elections defeat in three states, Union minister for textiles Smriti Irani told MyNation that she did not feel let down when shifted out of HRD and then I&B because she did not expect to be in that place.
She also said, “People can berate me, mock me, humiliate me, celebrate when they think I am dead and gone, but the only thing you cannot take away from me is how I have functioned as an administrator. My files speak for themselves. I was very clear. I won’t sell out my country for two bits in a newspaper on how good I am as a minister.”
Irani said that during her tenure in HRD, some of the most prominent decisions were taken.
“The National Ranking Framework, or the centres of excellence, or the first draft of the National Educational Policy, or the choice-based credit transfer system, the national testing service, or programmes like Imprint, Spark or Gyan, or Syawam, or the national repository, or the digital library…were all done by me in those two years,” she said.
Does she regret having to quit the two ministries? “I don’t look back, I always look forward. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am at 42,” Irani said.
Click here for the full interview
In her signature outspoken style, she added, “In I&B, people who salivated that ‘Oh, Smriti Irani ko hata diya’ (removed Smriti Irani), forgot that I was there to bridge a time gap between leadership. And I worked. Earlier, a politician would decide whether a journalist in distress would get help or not. I took that away. I made journalists and their counsels responsible for that decision.”
She is keenly aware of how many in Lutyens media celebrated her exit.
“Obviously my leaving I&B would make many media houses happy. Because I was adamant about the funding of media organisations. I didn’t have a wink-wink handshake kind of a relationship. I could have used that position to have a cosy relationship with everybody in the media. I could have become a darling of everybody by doing everything everybody said. But do I do it at the cost of my country,” she said.
Irani asserted that certain media houses that had dodgy financials told her “dosti-yari mein kar do na sign” (sign for the sake of friendship), but she did not budge as an administrator.
“I was extremely vigilant on foreign funding. There were many instances where funding of a media house was shadowy. I wouldn’t break my confidentiality oath, but I can say I put the nation first. And I can say that my PM or my party never told me ‘Yeh kar do, inse achchhi dosti ho jayegi,’ (do this and earn their friendship)” she said.
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Last Updated 29, Dec 2018, 6:56 PM