There are several reports in the media which say that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh offered to quit following row over his China remarks. Reports also said that PM Manmohan Singh turned down his offer. However, Jairam Ramesh is believed to have clarified saying he never offered his resignation.
Ramesh is said to have made the resignation offer to PM Manmohan Singh on Monday itself, reports said.
However, the PM and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will take a final call on his fate. Reports said that Jairam Ramesh may lose his ministerial berth when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh carries out a cabinet reshuffle, which is expected once the celebrations of the first anniversary of UPA-2 on May 22 get over.
The Congress party and the government have taken such a serious view of Ramesh's remarks in Beijing that the Home Ministry was blocking Chinese investment in India that he could even find himself out of the council of ministers.
"Something will have to be done (about him)…What he did in Beijing was very serious," said a top source.
Said another leader ominously: "Whether the Jairam chapter is closed or not will be decided by those to whom he explained himself."
Since his return Ramesh has apologised to Prime Minister Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and on Tuesday, Home Minister P Chidambaram.
As it is, Ramesh's Rajya Sabha term is ending. Though he hails from Karnataka, he has been nominated from Andhra Pradesh. He hopes to be re-nominated, but some Congressmen in Andhra have begun demanding that only those belonging to the state be sent to the Upper House from there.
Both Sonia and Singh are said to have reprimanded Ramesh when he met them. Chidambaram too reportedly expressed his displeasure.
While attending a conference in Beijing last week, Ramesh had hit out on the home ministry, saying that New Delhi was unnecessarily "paranoid" and "alarmist" about Chinese private companies investing in India.
The minister said India's security establishment was "imagining demons where there are none" and putting "needless" restrictions on Chinese investments. (With agencies input)