Jairam's PC jibe draws Congress ire | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Jairam's PC jibe draws Congress ire

A number of Congressman privately voiced their unhappiness on Sunday over Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh's purported remarks while in Beijing, criticising his own government's 'needlessly restrictive, alarmist' approach to Chinese investment in telecom and infrastructure. HT reports.

delhi Updated: May 10, 2010 08:34 IST
HT Correspondent

A number of Congressman privately voiced their unhappiness on Sunday over Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh's purported remarks while in Beijing, criticising his own government's 'needlessly restrictive, alarmist' approach to Chinese investment in telecom and infrastructure.

Newspaper reports quoted Ramesh as having said that the bilateral cooperation with China in the "Copenhagen spirit" (referring to the similarity of views expressed by the two countries at last December's Copenhagen summit on climate change) would not last long unless India changed its suspicious attitude to Chinese investment in these two sectors. Officially, the Congress refused to speak on the matter.

"Since the Minister is travelling, it is appropriate to first check with him when he returns," said spokesperson Manish Tewari.

But privately Congressmen had much to say.

"Not even Opposition leaders criticise the government outside the country," said one of them.

Home Ministry officials dismissed Ramesh's charge. They said there was no specific bias against China or any other nation. Cases were always handled on a case-by-case basis, they claimed.

The remarks were seen as directed not just at the Home Ministry, which is headed by P Chidambaram, but also at the defence and security establishments.

"After Digvijay Singh's diatribe against the Home Minister, the attack by the Environment Minister shows the divisions in the Congress," said another leader.

"The embarrassment that Shashi Tharoor caused the government with his controversial tweets on issues like visa policy is nothing compared to Ramesh's," he added.

On an earlier occasion, Ramesh had gone against the country's accepted stand on climate change during the Copenhagen meet. But at that time he appeared to have Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's backing.

An SMS to Ramesh to comment on the party's discomfiture remained unanswered till the time of going to press.