Nirmala Sitharaman: The articulate Commerce Minister
Nirmala Sitharaman: The Articulate Commerce Minister. The articulate, at times serious and at times a stern communicator, Nirmala Sitharaman, was truly a surprise pick in the Modi cabinet.
The articulate, at times serious and at times a stern communicator, Nirmala Sitharaman, was truly a surprise pick in the Modi cabinet. A Tamilian married to a Telugu family, her journey in politics began quite late. Though she was appointed as a political member of the National Commission for Women in 2003 and carried on her duties till 2005, she came to limelight when the then BJP national president Nitin Gadkari appointed her as a spokesperson in March 2010.
Born on August 18, 1959, at Tiruchirapally (now Trichy), she graduated from Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Tiruchirapally in 1980. Nirmala completed her MPhil in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She met her husband, Dr Parakala Prabhakar, a fellow JNU-ite during her college years. They then moved to the UK as her husband wanted to pursue his PhD at the London School of Economics. Her first job was as a sales girl where she worked for a small salary and later became an analyst at Price Waterhouse Coopers. They relocated to India in 1991 when their daughter was born.
Initially, they stayed at Narsapuram and later moved to Hyderabad. Nirmala spent two decades in the city working with a think tank started by her husband. The family also started Pranava School, an educational institute in the city.
Despite her family having close ties with the Congress party, Nirmala Sitharaman joined the BJP in 2006. It is believed that Sushma Swaraj, whom Nirmala met in her tenure as a NCW member, influenced her decision.
Nirmala grew in the party by leaps and bounds. As the spokesperson of the party she played a key role in projecting Narendra Modi as the PM candidate for 2014. Though it was never expected that Nirmala would be inducted into the cabinet, she was given an independent charge of Commerce and Industry as Minister of State.
Since she is not a Lok Sabha member, she may have to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha.