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S M Krishna foreign minister

By Sheela Bhatt
Last updated on: May 22, 2009 15:24 IST
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President Pratibha Patil will administer the oath of office to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and 19 others at Rashtrapati Bhavan this evening. Almost all the key portfolios have been finalised.

The biggest surprise is the choice of S M Krishna, the suave, IT-savvy former Karnataka chief minister, as India's new foreign minister.

According to top sources, Pranab Mukherjee will head the finance ministry. P Chidambaram has been given the home ministry once again though he was quite reluctant to take up the post --- his eyes were clearly on the "much more sophisticated finance ministry."

Kamal Nath, despite being among the senior-most Congress MPs, may not get a powerful ministry. He would have become the foreign minister, but for stiff internal opposition from inside the party.

So once again, the United Progressive Alliance government will be navigated by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party general Secretary Rahul Gandhi from the outside. From inside, it will be run by Dr Singh, Mukherjee, Krishna, A K Antony, who will stay on as defence minister, and Chidambaram.

Sushilkumar Shinde, S Jaipal Reddy, Kamal Nath, Vayalar Ravi, Meira Kumar, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni, B K Handique, Anand Sharma and C P Joshi also figure in the list of ministers.

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Sheela Bhatt