'Time' ticks PC for prime ministership

Time job

'Time' ticks PC for prime ministership

Eight months after dismissing Manmohan Singh as an “underachiever”, the “Time” magazine has now found in P Chidambaram not only the new Indian leader to cheer for, but also the most likely choice for the prime minister’s office, in case the Congress retains power in 2014 and Rahul Gandhi remains reluctant to take the top job.

The “Time”, in its latest edition, called the finance minister “the troubleshooter” and argued that he had the “ability” to change millions of lives by pushing reforms. It also made a case for Chidam­baram to be considered for the prime minister’s job, if inexperience comes in the way of Rahul and Congress president Sonia Gandhi has to appoint another “manager of the economy” as the successor of Singh.

“The Economist,” a UK-based magazine, too, a few months back, projected Chidambaram as the Congress’s most suited leader to take the office of the prime minister after 2014, particularly because his only challenger and “fiercest rival” Pranab Mukherjee had now taken over as President.

Lauding the finance minister for his “business-first approach,” the “Time” article says, over the past few years, Chidambaram has gone where the action is.
It highlighted Chidamb­aram’s contributions in pushing economic reforms and also his initiatives towards handling of internal security affairs when he was made home minister after 26/11, saying he has had a happier track record.

 “During his first stint (1996-98), he presented what came to be called, for its robust reforms, including deep cuts in income and corporate taxes, the dream budget. During his second term (2004-08), India’s economy grew faster than at any point in its history,” the article noted.

The article also praised Chidambaram’s February 28 budget presentation, saying it helped maintain India’s credit-worthiness, which ratings agencies had threatened to downgrade.

Many of the budget proposals had been in works but Chidambaram got them to the line. 

“His third tenure will be defined by whether or not he can get India back on that path. So far, he has managed to peel off a layer of gloom when nobody else could,” it added.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) patriarch M Karunanidhi, who recently withdrew his party’s support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, had also last year found a Chidambaram a potential candidate for the prime minister’s job.

“I know my limitations. And I live and conduct myself according to my limitations,” the finance minister later said, humbly dismissing the DMK chief’s suggestion.
The Congress, too, downplayed the suggestion, saying the party president will decide who should be the next prime minister.

Analysing the possibility of Chidambaram rising to the top post, the “Time” magazine’s article has noted that Rahul’s interest in the top job is uncertain and his “lack of political experience” could be a “liability” if the Congress finds itself heading another unstable coalition.

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