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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

I am still churning in my mind who will replace FM Pranab, says PM

PTI  New Delhi, June 24, 2012
First Published: 19:33 IST(24/6/2012) | Last Updated: 20:27 IST(24/6/2012)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is still "churning" in his mind as to who will take over the key Finance portfolio from Pranab Mukherjee who will step down from the coveted post on Tuesday.

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Amid widespread speculation that Singh, the architect of economic reforms in the 1990s during his stint as finance minister may keep the portfolio with himself in the immediate future, there are no clear indications as to who will get the crucial job when the country's economy is going through turbulence.

The speculation is that the Prime Minister may run the Finance Ministry with the assistance of the two Ministers of State--Namo Narain Meena and SS Palanimanickam.

Kaushik Basu, the Prime Minister's own economic adviser, wants Manmohan Singh to take charge of the Finance Ministry after Mukherjee demits office, saying that he is an extremely capable person.

"Prime Minister is a very trained economist... He was there in the 1991 reforms ... (although) it is a political decision... who comes and goes... but one thing is for sure that he is extremely capable," Basu said in a TV interview.

Prime Minister Singh is keeping his cards close to the chest as journalists travelling on his special flight to Mexico and Brazil tried to get an indication from him about his thinking on the issue and he refused to be drawn into a discussion.

"I have been churning it in my mind. Quite honestly I have a number of issues which I have to resolve. It will not be proper for me to announce while I am outside the country. When the decision is taken, you will get to know about it," he said.

The Prime Minister was asked whether he had time to apply his mind as to who will succeed Mukherjee as the Finance Minister and as the Leader of the House or did he intend holding this portfolio for a while.

Asked whether he was going to reshuffle his Cabinet soon, the Prime Minister's response was "I think that is a legitimate expectation. You will get to know about it when it takes place."


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