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Karan Singh in running for foreign minister's post

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
May 19, 2009 14:21 IST
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Former Indian ambassador to the United States Karan Singh is among those being considered for the post of foreign minister by the United Progressive Alliance government.

"Singh's name has been shortlisted, but we are not sure about his health and a few other things," said a source in the Congress party.

Apparently, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukerjee has requested Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to allot him the ministry again as he doesn't wish to travel at his age. The newly elected member of Parliaiment from Jangipur, West Bengal, is 73 years old. Instead, Mukherjee would like the finance ministry, which he was given charge of when Dr Singh was hospitalised for a bypass surgery in January this year. Prior to this, Mukherjee was finance minister under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1982 to 1984.

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah is also keen on joining the UPA government and get a plum posting, it is learnt.

His son and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah lashed out at the media on Monday, saying that his father will not go with 'a begging bowl' to New Delhi. If at all the former J&K chief minister gets a Cabinet berth, the inclusion of Karan Singh -- son of the former maharaja of Kashmir -- would be a balancing factor.

Congress leaders say Dr Singh, who is highly involved in the external affairs ministry, will most likely make his own choice rather than naming a person suggested by the party.

However, no decision is expected before Wednesday evening, a source said.

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi