Of course dousing political fires and being a member of the Congress Working Committee, makes him a workhorse.
The nation does not need a workhorse, it needs a person with fresh ideas
The nation is tired of getting politically correct answers from the Finance Minister for the economic woes. When Pranab da is asked to react on reforms that are pending (GST, DTC, pensions reforms, FDI in multi-brand retail), he subtly says, "We need to get allies on board".
Ask him why inflation is at elevated levels and you got a cliché: "Inflation is a matter of concern". For poor economic growth rates, Pranab da always has the "global problems" to blame. Never mind that India is a domestic consumption story and except the stock markets, global issues do not affect us very much.
Pranab da has not been able to push any of the big bang reforms as the Finance Minister in UPA II. Are we being less charitable to Pranab Da? Perhaps, rightly so. But seriously, one really cannot think of any major reform process completed, unless one is suffering from selective amnesia.
Economy is sinking
The economy in the fourth quarter of 2011-2012 has grown at its slowest in nine years. The current account deficit has reached a historic high and the rupee has touched a lifetime low recently.
Inflation remains at elevated levels and investors keep screaming on policy paralysis and deteriorating economic conditions. Reforms like the Direct Tax Code, Goods and Services Tax, Pension Reforms and FDI in multi-brand retail are on the backburner.
The economy and sentiments have reached their worst levels in recent times and now there are threats from global rating agencies to downgrade India's sovereign rating to junk status.
What the economy needs?
The economy needs a Finance Minister and not a workhorse. It needs fresh ideas and somebody who can push through reforms. It needs somebody who is not pre-occupied with party affairs and can give undivided attention to the economy. It certainly does not need somebody who lives in excuses. It needs somebody who can get us back to the 8-9% growth rates and bring inflation under control. The nation needs a Finance Minister, who is not constantly bullied by mercurial allies, when it comes to reforms.
The nation needs a break from the mundane and somebody who can invigorate the economy.
Would Pranab da go to Rashtrapathi Bhavan and would that be a turning point for the economy? Your guess is as good as mine.