Manmohan’s Choice for Finance Ministry – Montek?

While it is clear as crystal that Manmohan Singh continue to be the Prime Minister of the next Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), his next Finance Minister could be deputy chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

According to Congress sources, Singh wants Ahluwalia as the next Union Finance Minister.

If Ahluwalia is made the Union Finance Minister, he will have to make his entry into the Cabinet through the Rajya Sabha, the same as the Prime Minister.

Overwhelmed with the historical results, party leaders have been insisting that the UPA does not need the support of any new big allies and the Congress is also likely to keep key portfolios with it.

Notably, there is also a demand from within the party to bring Rahul Gandhi into the Cabinet. He is likely to be included as the Rural Development Minister in the Cabinet, sources say.

Besides, the new Cabinet is likely to include several young MPs, prominent of whom are Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasada, and Sandeep Dikshit.

While major pre-poll allies such as the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), the Trinamool Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are expecting ministerial berths, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is eyeing the Railways portfolio which was earlier with Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad, sources add.

As per the reports of reshuffling of existing ministers, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to be shifted to the Finance Ministry, which the Manmohan Singh has been handling so far. Commerce Minister Kamal Nath is likely to be shifted to the External Affairs Ministry.

Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A K Antony are likely to continue in their posts. Kapil Sibal is likely to get the Commerce Ministry.

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