INDIA POLITICS: Smriti Zubin Irani Biography

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By Politicoscope February 13, 2017 13:58

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INDIA POLITICS: Smriti Zubin Irani Biography

Smriti Zubin Irani is an Indian politician and the new Textiles Minister under the Narendra Modi government. She served as the Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) before the reshuffling of the Cabinet took place on July 5. She is the member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Irani is a former model and a television actress who worked for a considerable number of daily soaps (TV serials). She is also a producer and has an entertainment company by the name of Ugraya Entertainment.

Family and Personal Background of Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani was born in a cross-cultural middle class family in Delhi to a Punjabi father and a Bengali mother on March 23, 1976. Smriti was the eldest among three sisters. To help her family financially she started working after class 10 and earned Rs 200 a day by the promotion of a beauty product. But destiny had something else in store for her. The world of glamour attracted her and she decided to break free from the middle-class norms. She decided to participate in the Miss India contest in 1998 but could not reach the finals. Finally she decided to go to Mumbai and try her luck. To support herself financially, she worked at McDonald’s. In the meantime, she started giving auditions in the entertainment industry.

In 2001, Smriti married a Parsi entrepreneur named Zubin Irani. The couple has two children – a son Zohr who was born in October 2001. Two years later, the couple was blessed with a daughter who was named as Zoish.

Acting Career of Smriti Irani
Irani had to go through tough times before fortune finally decided to favour her and she got the chance to host an episode of ‘Ooh La La La’. She replaced the famous actress Neelam Kothari as the show’s host. There was no looking back from there for Irani as she had caught the eye of famous producer Ekta Kapoor. She got to play the character of Tulsi Virani in a superhit TV serial titled ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ aired on Star Plus.

Her popularity kept soaring high and she became a household name in virtually no time. She won many awards for her character of Tulsi in the serial. Apart from working in serials, she also produced shows under her company Ugraya Entertainment. She also hosted the dance reality show named, ‘Yeh Hai Jalwa’ in the year 2008 along with Sakshi Tanwar (Irani’s contemporary and another famous TV actress). She also proved her skills as a comedian in a show called Maniben.com (2009-2010), telecast on SAB TV.

Smriti Irani also acted in a Bengali film. The under-production movie ‘All Is Well’ will mark her Bollywood debut.

Political Career of Smriti Irani
In the year 2003, Smriti Irani joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the subsequent year, she was appointed as the Vice-President of the Maharashtra Youth Wing. She contested as a BJP candidate against Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk constituency in 2004 general elections. Though she lost the elections, the party acknowledged her hard work by appointing her as an executive member of its central committee. Irani continued on climb the ladder of success. She became the national secretary of the party and the President of the party’s women’s wing in 2010.

Looking at her leadership skills and her dedication, the BJP gave her the ticket to contest against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, UP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. She lost to Gandhi with a very narrow margin. Looking at her determination and the leadership qualities, she was appointed as the HRD minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers. She, thus, became the youngest member of the cabinet.In a Cabinet expansion and reshuffle that took place on July 5, Smriti Irani was shifted to the Ministry of Textiles.

Political Journey of Smriti Irani

  • Smriti Irani became the Member of Rajya Sabha in 2011. She was appointed as the BJP’s Vice-President in 2012.
  • From Sept. 2011 to May 2014, she was a member of Committee on Coal and Steel.
  • In august 2012, she was appointed as a member of Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Management and a member of the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Urban Development.
  • Smriti became the Union Minister for Human Resource Development on May 26, 2014.
  • On July 5, she was moved to the Textiles Ministry in PM Modi’s cabinet reshuffle.

Controversy
Smriti Irani had to face a lot of heat at the hands of the opposition parties and media over her appointment as the HRD minister. The controversy was regarding her educational qualification, to which a lot of vagueness was attached. The opposition parties and media raised the issue that she was not qualified enough and thus not eligible to hold the position of HRD minister. The controversy came to the fore when it was reported that Smriti had made two contradictory declarations about her educational qualification in 2004 and 2014 General elections.

In 2004, Smriti Irani had stated in an affidavit that she had a Bachelor’s of Arts degree that she had attained in 1996 from the School of Correspondence, Delhi University. But in the 2014 General Elections, when she contested the Amethi seat in UP against Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, she had declared that she had a Bachelor’s of Commerce Part -1 degree in 1994, University of Delhi.

A whole new chapter was added to the controversy when Smriti Irani stated that she also had a degree from America’s famous Yale University. She asserted that those who had any doubt about her leadership capabilities and her educational portfolio, could file a PIL and find out the truth behind the affidavit controversy.

Controversy Over Comments on JNU Row and Vemula Suicide
The Union HRD Minister landed herself in another controversy over remarks made in the Parliament about Rohith Vemula, a research student in Hyderabad University who committed suicide. Accusing opposition parties of using ‘a child’s death’ for political ends, Irani refused to take responsibility for Vemula’s suicide. The minister had allegedly ordered the student’s suspension on cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya’s insistence, for attacking ABVP students and engaging in ‘anti-national activities’ on campus.

Awards Won

  • Smriti Irani won four consecutive Indian Television Academy Awards in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 for her role as Tulsi Virani in the serial ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’. She also received the same award in 2010.
  • Irani bagged Indian Telly Awards in the years 2002, 2003 and 2006.
  • She was felicitated with Gr8! Women Achiever’s Awards in 2005.
  • Garv Indian TV Awards honoured her with the Best TV Personality of The Decade award in 2014.

– Smriti Zubin Irani Biography (Election)

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