Mukherjee to step down as finance minister on June 26
(Reuters) – Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will step down on June 26, rather than the previously expected June 24, as he prepares to stand in July’s presidential election, a senior member of the ruling Congress Party told Reuters said late on Thursday.
Mukherjee, who has held the post since 2009, is leaving at a time when Asia’s third-largest economy is taking a battering by a slowing pace of economic growth, policy gridlock in government, inflation, and sluggish investment.
Mukherjee’s successor has not yet been announced, but bureaucrats and politicians suggest Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will take over the portfolio until a cabinet reshuffle next month.
Mukherjee, 76, has withdrawn from the daily work of government, the source said. On Thursday, he was to chair a panel on the sales price for a 2G radio wave auction, but he deferred the meeting. He is unlikely to meet industrialists on Monday, the source said, referring to another planned event.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has postponed a visit to India which had been scheduled for June 27-28.
Mukherjee, who enjoys wide cross-party support, is almost certain to win the July 19 poll for the presidency, a largely ceremonial position.
(Reporting by Satarupa Bhattacharjya and Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)