Two years back Narendra Modi hand-picked Smriti Zubin Irani as his Human Resources Development minister. It was done, according to many reports, in the face of much criticism and primarily because of her performance as the BJP spokesperson and the way she defended Modi in the media.
But once in power, her outspoken charater proved to be detrimental not just to her image but also that of the government. Compared to the likes of Sushma Swaraj, Suresh Prabhu and even Arun Jaitley -- who went about doing their work quietly (and have retained their portfolios) -- Smriti was more than happy to take on all comers.
The platform didn't matter -- it could be Twitter, Facebook, TV, magazines, newspapers -- if there was a fight, you would most likely find Smriti bang in the middle of it. And that -- more than anything else -- caused her downfall.
She even managed to get on the wrong side of BJP president Amit Shah.
According to a report in the Times Of India, "At a national executive meeting of the BJP's top leaders in Bengaluru last year, she allegedly was involved in 'incidents that made (party president) Amit Shah unhappy'."
And after that it was only a matter of time before she slipped up and the party decided to act. There were also reports of a bitter battle between the HRD ministry and Niti Aayog.
Not just that, according to other reports, she would often hit back at her own party members for what she considered as condescending interference. There was also talk about the 'babus' not wanting to work with her.
According to the Economic Times, "Her ministry and the PMO were on different pages when the former blocked autonomy drives at IIMs and proposed new world-class universities while the PMO advocated absolute liberalisation from the regulatory regime.
And perhaps the final nail in the coffin was her failure to win over the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS, which endorsed the changes to the council of ministers.
All in all, she dug her own grave.
If perhaps, she had the results to match, she still might have survived the purge but as things stand, her performance was not good enough to save. Just think along the lines of the genius everyone tolerates because they have no option but to. Smriti was no genius, at least not to Modi.
According to the Telegraph, "His assessment of the ministries was capped with a PowerPoint presentation by a top bureaucrat, who analysed threadbare how each department had fared against budgetary and sundry allocations since 2014."
He gave her two years. The party backed her initially no matter what the issue was, but then in recent months, had mainly been giving her the cold shoulder.
However, the fact that Smriti is still part of the cabinet shows that all is not lost for her. The government recently cleared a Rs 6,000 crore package for the textiles industry and it does create a lot of jobs. But it isn't as high profile as the HRD ministry and the potential to anger people is far lesser than it once was -- unless of course, she decides that orange is the new black.