178. India’s next Finance Minister
The big question now in Indian politics is after Pranab Mukherjee who will be Finance Minister. If Manmohan Singh has his way he would like to bring in an economist Finance Minister but I’m sure the party’s decision will to bring someone with political acumen.
My sense is that Manmohan Singh’s first choice will be Montek Singh Ahluwalia or C Rangarajan – the former RBI governor or Bimal Jalan, another former RBI governor who has also been a member of the Rajya Sabha in the past. If the Montek is made FM, his vacancy in the Planning commission could go to someone like Raghu Raman who is the Economic Advisor to the PM and could be convinced to come in for the remainder of the UPA term, which is 2 years. Alternatively, he himself could be a great choice as Finance Minister if he is offered and agrees to relocate from Chicago to New Delhi. I see in him a potential to win a Nobel Prize for Economics in the future.
If none of these choices are approved it is possible that Chidambaram will be moved back to the Finance Ministry and his vacancy could be filled in by either Digvijaya Singh which will not be good news for the BJP. The other possibility is to give Mulayam Singh Yadav a larger role in national politics, either as the Home Minsiter in exchange for support which goes against Rahul Gandhi’s gameplan in UP or don’t be surprised if Jairam Ramesh comes into the Finance Minister.