Relieved of the charge of Defence Ministry, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday termed Nirmala Sitharaman as “an extremely competent successor” to him, news agency ANI reports. Jaitley said that Sitharaman performed well as the state minister of commerce and industry and earned herself a higher place. “I am sure, now that I have an extremely competent successor in Nirmala Sitharaman, she will carry the road forward,” Arun Jaitley said. “It is a case where a minister performs well and earns a higher responsibility for herself (Nirmala Sitharaman),” Jaitley added.
The Finance Minister further termed Sitharaman’s elevation as significant development. In the latest reshuffle, Sitharaman emerged as the biggest gainer after she was appointed Defence Minister. She is the first woman defence minister (full time) after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – Gandhi was PM at the time and handled this additional responsibility too. Earlier, Sitharaman was holding the Commerce portfolio as a Minister of State. The minister was elevated along with Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to the cabinet rank. In her new role, Sitharaman will by default become a member of the crucial Cabinet Committee on Security whose members include the Prime Minister, Home Minister, External Affairs Minister and the Finance Minister.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended best wishes to the newly appointed ministers. “I congratulate all those who have taken oath today. Their experience & wisdom will add immense value to the Council of Ministers,” the prime minister tweeted shortly after the swearing-in ceremony. “I congratulate my colleagues @dpradhanbjp, @PiyushGoyal, @nsitharaman and @naqvimukhtar on joining the Union Cabinet,” he added.