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Pranab Sends Out A Strong Message To Chidambaram

After Home Minister P Chidmabaram talked about a 'limited mandate' in the fight against Maoists, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said the issue will be discussed in the Cabinet and there "cannot be a public
PTI May 24, 2010 9:22 IST
PTI
After Home Minister P Chidmabaram talked about a 'limited mandate' in the fight against Maoists, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said the issue will be discussed in the Cabinet and there "cannot be a public debate on the problem".

"No, these are issues that we will have to discuss in the Cabinet. There cannot be a public debate because the fact of the matter is (that) the proposals of the home ministry have been adopted by the Cabinet and appropriate measures have already been taken. But in what context the home minister made these observations -- he is the best person to explain it," he told a TV channel during an interview.

The finance minister was replying to a question about Chidamabaram's comments that he had got a limited mandate to deal with the Maoist problem.

Asked if the home minister should explain why he went public about the differences in the Cabinet meetings on the Maoist issue, Mukherjee said, "I am saying that in what context what he said, he is in a better position to explain about it. These things we do not share in public, these things are not to be shared in public."

He said he would 'never' express any differences with anybody in public and noted, "Whatever decision is taken in the Cabinet I may have a view -- I express my views in the Cabinet alone, or in the appropriate committee of the Cabinet, and, thereafter, I go by the decision (of the Cabinet). I am not the person to explain and air my views which are different from the decision taken in the Cabinet," he said.

On whether Chidambaram was correct in making differences within the Cabinet and the Cabinet Committee on Security public, the finance minister said, "I cannot sit on a value judgment on what he said and in what context he said, that's why I am repeatedly saying he is the best person to explain."

On whether the country should be worried about the Maoist issue as top ministers were not in agreement over the problem, Mukherjee said, "I don't think there is any reason to be worried because I explained to you -- and nobody in the Cabinet has stated that we should not take action against the terrorists and the Naxalites."

On the differences of opinion in the Cabinet, the finance minister said, "I don't want to make any comment on what my distinguished colleague said. But this much I can tell, in the discussion in the Cabinet, or the appropriate Cabinet Committee, various persons may give their views, that is nothing unusual."

He said like any other corporate body, various inputs come from various participants for the decision-making process, but once the decision was taken, everybody followed it. PTI