Palaniappan Chidambaram

Indian Politician & Former Attorney

Prior to being senior leader of the Indian National Congress, Palaniappan Chidambaram was the former Union Minister of Finance of India. A lawyer by profession, he has served as the Home Affairs Minister for three years. Preceding his career in politics, Palaniappan graduated with a BSc degree in statistics from the Presidency College, a Bachelor of Laws from the Madras Law College and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1968. On top of this, Palaniappan also earned a Master’s degree from Loyola College in Chennai.

During Palaniappan’s ascent into politics, his stance leant further to the left, as such he collaborated with N. Ram and the women’s activist Mythili Sivaraman to start a journal called the Radical Review. With a passion for fighting injustices, Palaniappan joined the Madras High Court as a lawyer, before becoming a senior advocate. In 1984, he had offices across India, practising in various high courts including the Supreme Court. During that same year, Palaniappan was elected in the Lok Sabha of the Indian Parliament from the Sivaganga constituency of Tamil Nadu, after the general elections. Working his way through the Congress Party, Palaniappan was a union leader for the MRF, the Tamil Nadu Youth Congress president and then the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Committee unit.

Headed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985, Palaniappan was appointed as a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Commerce and then in the Ministry of Personnel. After rising through the ranks, he became Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in January 1986. During the same year, Palaniappan was offered the role of Ministry of Home Affairs as Minister of State for Internal Security, he succeeded in both roles until the general elections of 1989.

After a period of intense political change, with governmental parties introduced and dissolved, Palaniappan was appointed the Union Home Minister following the resignation of Shivraj Patil in 2008. Starting in 2004 through to 2014, Palaniappan was the Finance Minister, except for a short period in from 2008 onwards when he acted as Home Minister in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

After a triumphant career in Indian politics, Palaniappan was credited with being the decision maker during the general elections, choosing to prioritise them above corporate demands to deploy security for the 2009 Indian Premier League.

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