Early Life of P. Chidambaram
This eminent politician was born on 16th September, 1945 to Shri Palaniappan and Smt Lakshmi Achi in the Sivaganga district of the state of Tamil Nadu. He was born into an affluent family. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Presidency College, Chennai, India and he then studied law at the Law College of the University of Madras, Chennai, and received his Bachelor of Law degree. Later he went to the Harvard Business School where he took his Master of Business Administration degree. He married Nalini, a successful lawyer in her own right in the year 1968. They have a son, Karti Palaniappan Chidambaram.
Political Career of P. Chidambaram
In 1969, P. Chidambaram started his career as an Advocate in the Madras High Court and within a very short period of time he established himself as a flourishing lawyer. In 1984, he was denominated as a Senior Advocate. He practiced in the Supreme Court and in High Courts in India. He has also appeared both in India and abroad, in a number of arbitration proceedings. In the general elections of 1984, from the Sivaganga constituency of Tamil Nadu, P. Chidambaram was first a member of Lok Sabha of Indian Parliament by way of election.
On 21 September 1985, in the government headed by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, P. Chidambaram was inducted as a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Commerce and then in the Ministry of Personnel into the Union Council of Ministers. P. Chidambaram was one among a relatively young, when he was first given a ministerial post. In January 1986, he was made the Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. He was also appointed to the Ministry of Home Affairs as Minister of State for Internal Security, in October of the same year. He continued to hold both the offices till the general elections of 1989.
P. Chidambaram was re-elected from the same constituency in the general elections of 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2004. Chidambaram was inducted as a Minister of State in June 1991, in the Ministry of Commerce. P. Chidambaram held the position till July 1992. In February 1995, he was re-appointed, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce. While at the Ministry of Commerce, some radical changes were made by him in India's export-import (EXIM) policy. Chidambaram quit the Congress party in the year 1996 and joined a fissiparous faction of the Tamil Nadu state unit of the Congress party called the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). TMC along with a few national and regional level opposition parties after the general election of 1996 formed a coalition government. And for Chidambaram this coalition government came as a big break. In the government he was given the key cabinet portfolio of Finance, which put him in the limelight.
Though the coalition government fell shortly, but the competence of P. Chidambaram as Finance Minister led him to the reappointment for the same key portfolio in the government formed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2004. Chidambaram made some experiments during the interloping period in his political career. He left the Tamil Maanila Congress in 2001 and formed his own party, the Congress Jananayaka Peravai. His party largely focused on the regional politics of Tamil Nadu. Yet, the party, failed to take off into mainstream of national politics. P. Chidambaram merged his party just prior to the elections of 2004, with the mainstream Congress party.
P. Chidambaram, as a simple down-to-earth person, can easily move from the highly-charged politics of his home state Tamil Nadu, speaking to the financial media in Mumbai. At the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, he has presented India's views. Economists acclaim his "dream-budget" for 1996-97 in which he contributed discipline in government spending and founded an ambitious tax reform programme to tackle an unwieldy fiscal deficit.
He is associated with various charitable causes. He is a trustee of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, and also a trustee of the Tamil 'Ilakiya Chintanai' (Tamil Literary Foundation), Chennai, India. He is also fond of literature and sports.