Millennium Post

After Pranab, who?

With the political climate in the country favouring finance minster [FM] Pranab Mukherjee’s ascent to Rashtrapati Bhawan, his post will soon be vacant. Initially, his portfolio will be transferred to and handled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself, but the Congress will have to designate someone else eventually for the job.

About the person who would inherit his ministry, Mukherjee had told reporters earlier, ‘It is up to the PM to decide who will be the next finance minister... the Congress president and the PM will decide.’

While the dust is still settling in after the drama and excitement generated by the United Progressive Alliance’s presidential candidate, now the race for the next FM too is building up. There are various names from the Congress doing the rounds in the political circuit currently.

Few of the names which are being considered for this post include - rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, urban development minister Kamal Nath, home minister P Chidambaram, power minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and also Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council’s chairman, Dr C Rangarajan.

Interestingly, highly-placed sources in the Congress have told Millennium Post that one person who is actively campaigning for this appointment is Jairam Ramesh. But his ability to land himself invariably into controversies might go against him, especially as Sonia Gandhi and the PM are not particularly fond of him.

Sources have also said one name which might figure in the list of frontrunners might be that of Sharma’s, who like Ramesh is keenly eyeing this post. Another name which has cropped up amongst discussions in the power corridors includes that of former finance minister Chidambaram, but after controversies like the Aircel-Maxis deal as well as the alleged rigging of elections, things may not work in his favour. The government wants to be cautious and with its fascination to have a Marathi at a top position, they might even consider the name of power minister Sushilkumar Shinde for the job.

In fact, Nath too is trying his luck, as the source adds that he possesses the experience and expertise for the post. Rangarajan with his credentials holds a good chance.

But finally, the decision rests in the hands of the PM and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who will take a final call and announce the next finance minister’s name.
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