India’s Chidambaram Won’t Seek Re-Election as Son to Contest

India’s Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram won’t seek re-election to the lower house of parliament in elections starting next month as his son will contest for the first time in his constituency.

Karti P. Chidambaram will run as the ruling Congress party candidate from Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu, the party said in a statement yesterday. In the 2009 election, Palaniappan Chidambaram won a seventh term in the lower house as Congress took eight of 39 seats in the state.

“My father has contested nine elections and thought it is time to give way,” Press Trust of India quoted Karti P. Chidambaram as saying. “He is definitely not retiring from politics.”

Palaniappan Chidambaram, 68, has been finance minister since August 2012 and held the post for more than six of the past 10 years of Congress rule. He has defended the government’s performance as the slowest growth in a decade and Asia’s fastest inflation puts Congress behind in opinion polls to the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Palaniappan Chidambaram mismanaged the economy and his decision is evidence that Congress has “actually conceded defeat,” Nirmala Sitharaman, a BJP spokeswoman, told reporters in New Delhi today. “He is not willing to face the public.”

Chidambaram will still be eligible to become a lawmaker through the upper house, which would allow him to hold cabinet positions, including prime minister. The upper house is mostly elected by India’s state legislators.

A lawyer with a degree from Harvard Business School, Palaniappan Chidambaram is one of the most prominent members of the Congress party. He became India’s home minister following the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and spearheaded efforts to strengthen the country’s security.

About 815 million eligible voters in India will choose 543 lawmakers in nine rounds of voting starting April 7 through May 12. Counting will take place on May 16.

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