Finance Minister P Chidambaram was today appointed Home Minister after incumbent Shivraj V Patil resigned owing moral responsibility for the Mumbai terror attacks, the worst the country had seen.
63-year-old Chidambaram, who has had a stint as Minister of Internal Security under the late Rajiv Gandhi in late 1980s, was shifted to the Home Ministry after amidst demands for the ouster of Patil, who had come under severe attack for his handling of internal security matters.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, himself an economist of repute, will hold the Finance portfolio at a time when the country is suffering from the ripple effects of the global recession. Singh had held the Finance portfolio for five years under the late P.V.Narasimha Rao.
A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique announced the appointment of Chidambaram as Home Minister after acceptance of Patil's resignation. It said the Prime Minister will hold the additional charge of Finance.
Indications that Chidambaram would be given the new responsibility came when he was called as a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) last night and he met the Prime Minister this morning to discuss the situation arising out of the Mumbai terror attacks.
After recommending Patil's resignation to President Pratibha Patil, who is away in Indonesia, the Prime Minister spoke to Chidambaram formally conveying the decision to give him the new assignment.
The appointment also came hours before the start of the all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister to discuss the Mumbai attacks and evolve a consensus on how to combat terror.