New Delhi: Nearly one and a half year is still left for next general election in mid 2014 and speculations are high in both the Congress and BJP camp over their respective Prime Ministerial candidates. As far as the Congress is concerned, all eyes are set on Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi in this matter. But famous British journal - The Economist - has spotted Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram who could replace Prime Minister Manmohan Singh if the Congress is voted to power for third consecutive term.

The British magazine said that incumbent Finance Minister’s growth-oriented outlook can give the nation the much-needed push.

According to The Economist, the 67-year-old leader is a veteran of the tortuous politics of the Congress party, which heads a battered governing coalition. He was shifted to Finance from Home in last August, after Pranab Mukherjee sworn-in as the 13th President of India.

Mentioning that Chidambaram has a good knowledge of economy and he is also a trustworthy aide of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the magazine stated that he successfully managed to convince the DMK, a key ally of the ruling coalition at the Centre, over the contentious issue of FDI in retail.

If experts are to be believed, the recently launched direct cash transfer scheme by the Centre could be a ‘game-changer’ for the Congress party in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

It has also claimed that Chidambaram’s speech in Hindi at Dudu in Rajasthan last month on the occasion of the second anniversary launch of the Aadhaar card has given him popularity. At that time, his speech was linked to his former colleague Pranab Mukherjee’s saying - one of the reasons he (Pranab) could never be Prime Minister was his lack of fluency in Hindi.

As per the British magazine, while Manmohan Singh will cross 80 after 2014 polls and Rahul is still unprepared for the top post, Chidambaram has got the right credentials to lead the nation. Earlier, the magazine had termed Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi as ‘confused’ and said that Rahul has so far shown no particular aptitude as a politician.

When Congress leader Rashid Alvi was contacted in this regard, he refused to comment, saying, “The party is well prepared for the genral elections. The decision in this regard will be taken only by the party high command.”


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