Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday sought to downplay agriculture minister Sharad Pawar's critical remarks on UPA-II and said the government was functioning with the "coherence" required to carry out its mandate.
"We are in a coalition government. In a coalition government, there are bound to be differences," he said when referred to certain comments made by NCP leader Pawar and the attitude of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on various issues.
He said the "real test is that we should not allow these differences to undermine cohesiveness of the government."
Singh, who was talking to accompanying journalists on way back from Pretoria, added, "You have my assurance that despite different perspectives that various members of the coalition may have, managing the Cabinet of the UPA has never been a difficult task.
"Our government functions with coherence which it needs to carry out the mandate given by the people."
Replying to questions on contention of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik that the Centre was not heeding to its demands, the Prime Minister asserted that his government does not discriminate against any state and treats all on even keel.
"There is no basis for persistence of any feeling that our government discriminates against non-Congress or non-UPA governments. Our government policy has been to treat all states as worthy members of the national polity," Singh said.
He said whenever any chief minister raised any issue, the UPA government tried to respond satisfactorily.
To a question on Bihar's request for declaring it a special category state, Singh said the categorization of the states is something which is to be decided in the National Development Council.
"Bihar's case is also being examined by the Planning Commission. If a decision is to be taken, that can be taken only in the National Development Council," he added.
He was asked whether there is any move to set up a commission on reorganisation of states. "..That has been under discussion for several years. There have been proposals from several sources that there is scope redrawing the federal map of India, but we have not taken a view on this matter," he replied.