Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday praised Home Minister P. Chidambaram, saying he is a competent minister in whom Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reposed his confidence. "And it's quite right," he added.
But Singh also justified his comments on Maoist and Batla House encounter issues, saying the remarks were made in his capacity as the general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, which is "one of the Naxal-affected states". "I stand by whatever I have said."
In a newspaper article, he had criticised Chidambaram for his "inflexible" approach in tackling Naxalism and had described him as "intellectually arrogant".
Chidambaram, on his part, told a business paper, "He (Singh) is the general secretary of our party. I have a job to do and I am doing my job to the best of my ability. If someone can do the job better, I would be the happiest person."
On the party directive asking leaders to restrict themselves to their area of responsibility, Singh said, "It's a directive in the right spirit. All Congress leaders should follow party instructions as honestly as possible," Singh said.
He also refuted the charge that he had deviated from the party directive by referring to Naxal and Batla house encounter issues. "I am careful. Whatever I say and do, I try to be as honest as possible following the party directives," Singh said.
Singh rejected as an "imaginary issue" suggestions that he was eyeing the Home Ministry, saying he had vowed not to contest any election till November 2013.
"I am not interested in any ministry. I am happy with doing what I am doing," he said.