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Aditi Phadnis in the Business Standard:

Singh conveyed to Chidambaram well before he was made finance minister that he was getting the job. Chidambaram had some conditions. “It is easy to be finance minister during a boom,” he told Singh. “But times are bad.” Just as PV Narasimha Rao had backed his finance minister (Singh), would Singh back him and keep the wise men of the party out of his hair? Singh told Chidambaram that he would get his full support. He also promised to intercede on his behalf with the party.

Actually, this was unnecessary. Chidambaram has a new place in the dispensation at 10 Janpath since he became home minister in 2008. He has taken a lot upon himself, including the blame for making an “announcement” offering to think about granting statehood to Telangana — when it wasn’t his idea at all but that of the MP from Amethi; in fact he had counselled against it. The party realised later that it was a mistake and it was left to Chidambaram to take the flak — which he did without complaining. When he became finance minister, Chidambaram met Congress President Sonia Gandhi several times to explain how delicately poised the Indian economy was, between stupendous success in hard times and complete disaster...

...at the end of the day, the transition from “with Mamata” to “without Mamata” has, if you think about it, been pretty smooth — leading the chatterati to ask why it wasn’t done sooner. The answer seems to be: because Chidambaram was not the finance minister...

..Is Chidambaram becoming to the government what Mukherjee was? Actually, a lot more. It is Chidambaram, with his unique powers of persuasion, who is now going to act as the channel of communication between 10 Janpath and the PMO. Unlike in the past, nothing will be lost in translation.

Read the full piece at the Business Standard: The Knight In Veshti

So why is the Rahul-was-behind- the-Telangana-statehood-announcement story out now? One obvious possibility: it was clearly a blunder way back then, but now when Congress is close to granting it, perhaps it wants some of the goodwill in the new state to transfer to the yuvraj.

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