Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh might not have applied for the job, but he is on a list of candidates likely to succeed World Bank president Robert Zoellick when he leaves in June.
This is sort of a rebel list, floated by a global alliance of 57 organisations that claims the support of bodies like Oxfam and two Indian outfits — National Insurance Academy and Public Interest Research Centre. They want the next president to be from a developing country.
Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva and Turkey’s former finance minister Kemal Dervis are among the nine on the list with Ramesh.
The more consequential list, if it can be called so, is the one being put together for the White House by Lael Brainard, US undersecretary of treasury for international affairs.
“If anyone asks me, although I know no one is going to ask me, my only candidate will be Montek Singh Ahluwalia (Planning Commission deputy chairperson). There is no one better than him to become the World Bank president,” Ramesh told HT.
“As far as the list is concerned, it is absolutely bogus. I am nowhere in the race for becoming the World Bank president. I have a lot of things to do to develop rural India,” Ramesh added.
US president Barack Obama is likely to name Zoellick’s successor, continuing the tradition of an American heading the World Bank and a European getting the top job at the International Monetary Fund.
But that tradition is being challenged. France’s Christine Lagarde faced a tough contest to succeed compatriot Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the IMF in 2011.
Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was briefly in the fray, but confusion over the age limit ended his bid. Can Ramesh be a serious contender?