Nirmala Sitharaman

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Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman
Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge)
Assumed office
May 26, 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Anand Sharma
Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs[1]
In office
May 26, 2014 – November 9, 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by Jayant Sinha
Spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party
In office
Succeeded by Shaina NC
MP of Rajya Sabha for Andhra Pradesh
In office
26 June 2014 – 21 June 2016
MP of Rajya Sabha for Karnataka [2]
Assumed office
1 July 2016
Preceded by Venkaiah Naidu, BJP
Personal details
Born (1959-08-18) 18 August 1959 (age 57)
Madurai, Madras State
(now Tamil Nadu), India
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Spouse(s) Parakala Prabhakar
Children 1
Residence Hyderabad, Telangana, India [3][4]
Alma mater Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Tiruchirapalli
Jawaharlal Nehru University
Religion Hinduism

Nirmala Sitharaman (born 18 August 1959) is an Indian politician from the state of Tamil Nadu[3][5] presently serving as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Commerce & Industry,[6] as well as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance headed by Arun Jaitley. Until recently, she served as a national spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party (called Bharatha Makkal Kazhagam in Tamil).[7] Currently, she has been allotted the MP seat in the Rajya Sabha representing the state of Karnataka

Early life and career[edit]

Nirmala Sitharaman was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu in Southern India to Shri Narayanan Sitaraman and Savitri in a Tamil Iyer Brahmin family.[8] She obtained a B.A. degree from Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Tiruchirappalli and an MA degree in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1980[9] followed by a Ph.D in the Indo-European textile trade within the GATT framework and MPhil.[10] Sitharaman then served at Pricewaterhouse Coopers as a Senior Manager and later for the BBC World Service.[11] She is one of the founding directors of Pranava school in Hyderabad.[12] She was formerly a member of the National Commission for Women.[13][14]

Political career[edit]

Nirmala Sitharaman joined Narendra Modi's ministry in May 2014. Until then, she was working as a part of a team of six spokespersons headed by Ravi Shankar Prasad, for Bharatiya Janata Party congress .[citation needed]

She joined the BJP in 2006 even as her husband Dr. Parakala Prabhakar joined the Prajarajyam party floated by filmstar Chiranjeevi in 2007. While her husband grew disillusioned with Chiranjeevi's party and felt the need to quit the PRP that spoke of social justice. In the early 2000s, Dr Prabhakar was the spokesperson of the Andhra Pradesh unit of the BJP. Meanwhile, Nirmala was slowly gaining in popularity in the BJP. It was during Nitin Gadkari's tenure as BJP president that Nirmala Sitharaman was enlisted as one of the six party spokespersons in March 2010.

Since then, she has been a regular on the news TV channels defending her BJP and its leaders including Narendra Modi. Interestingly, as party spokesperson, she became quite popular in the Modi-ruled Gujarat than in Delhi, where the BJP headquarters is based.

As a visible spokesperson of the BJP, Nirmala played an important role in the run up to the 2014 elections by effectively projecting the Modi-for-PM message. And even before the elections were held, it was a mass presumption in political circles that if the NDA indeed came to power, then Nirmala would make it to the Narendra Modi cabinet. In an election that not many thought would be that one-sided, the BJP vanquished the Congress with the former managing to get a simple majority on its own.

On May 26, Nirmala Sitharaman was sworn in as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Commerce & Industry, as well as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs which fall under the Ministry of Finance headed by Arun Jaitley. She Contested and won a bye-election to the Rajya Sabha from the state of Andhra Pradesh.

On 29 May 2016, she was one among the 12 candidates nominated by the BJP to contest the Rajya Sabha elections due on 11 June 2016. She successfully contested the elections from Karnataka.[15]

Personal life[edit]

She met her husband, Parakala Prabhakar, an Andhraite from Narsapuram, Andhra Pradesh while studying in the Jawaharlal Nehru University. While Nirmala leaned towards the BJP, her husband was from a pro-Congress family.[16] Her mother-in-law was a Congress MLA in Andhra Pradesh, while her father-in-law was a Minister in the Andhra Pradesh Congress Govt in 1970s.

In 1991, Nirmala and her husband returned to India from UK and moved to Narsapuram in the coastal Andhra Pradesh; Nirmala, who was expecting her first child, later shifted to Chennai for delivery. She got stuck in the hospital for over a week because of the unrest triggered by the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991. Later, blessed with a daughter, the family made Hyderabad their home.

Nirmala is a founder member of Pranava School in Hyderabad and was a member of the National Commission for Women from 2003-05. It was during her stint at NCW that she came in contact with Sushma Swaraj who sounded Nirmala out for a role in BJP.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "National Leadership from Andhra Pradesh - Official BJP site of Andhra Pradesh Nirmala sitharaman's address and contact information". 
  4. ^ "Official BJP National website". 
  5. ^ " Rajya sabha members". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "List of ministers in Narendra Modi's government". The Economic Times. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Bharatiya Janata Party - The Party with a Difference". Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "The argumentative Indians". 
  10. ^ "Cabinet reshuffle: Modi government's got talent but is it being fully utilised?", The Economic Times, 10 July 2016 
  11. ^ Mohua Chatterjee, TNN Mar 21, 2010, 02.13am IST (2010-03-21). "BJP gets a JNU product as its woman spokesparson - Times Of India". Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  12. ^ "Management | Pranava". Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  13. ^ "LinkedIn Profile;". Retrieved 2016-11-24. 
  14. ^ "NCW Members of the commission". Retrieved 2016-11-24. 
  15. ^ "Naidu, Naqvi, Goyal among 12 in BJP's RS list". ABP Live. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Andhra Pradesh / Hyderabad News : BJP spokesperson finds her new role challenging". The Hindu. 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 

External links[edit]