Sitharaman, one of four ministers elevated to cabinet rank on Sunday, takes over from Jaitley who also holds the heavy-workload finance ministry. He was keen to be rid of defence and said as much.
On Friday, he indicated he may not be defence minister for much longer.
“At least, I hope, not very long,” Jaitley had quipped, when being asked about the reshuffle.
Sitharaman – who was minister of state for commerce – is seen to have gained in confidence in handling the ministry and has done well in multilateral negotiations, said party sources. She also made her mark as party spokesperson when the BJP was in the opposition.
When Sitharaman was give the commerce ministry, as an independent charge, it was a role she grew into after an initial period when her direct manner was markedly different from what officials were used to. But of late, she has been seen to have come into her own, gaining control over her turf and dealing with trade negotiations with increasing certainty.
Sitharaman was recently in China for a BRICS meeting where she was engaged in discussions with counterparts even as the protracted India-China border row played out in Doklam.
Source : timesofindia