The Congress today attacked CPI-M and termed as "absurd" its statement that supporters of Maoists were also in the cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"It is not only a joke but also absurd that those who themselves accept that they supported Maoists in and outside India and helped formation of a government of Maoists in a neighbouring country level such allegations," Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.
He was responding to the statement of CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, who, in an oblique reference to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, said that though the Prime Minister says the Maoist problem is the biggest threat to internal security, his cabinet has members who are in league with them. Asked about the arrest of ULFA chief Arvinda Rajkhowa in Bangladesh, the Congress leader said that it shows that a "very strong" and "resolute" action has been taken. Terming it a "sensitive issue", he said details of the ULFA leaders are with the Home Ministry, which will soon give some definite information on the issue.
Replying to another question, Singhvi said he found nothing wrong in the government's reported move to raise the salary of ministers to ensure that they are not paid less than the bureaucrats functioning under them. "Austerity drive does not mean that periodic salary reviews cannot be made. At least we (the Congress) adopted austerity, which no other parties did," he said when asked how does the party justify the move vis a vis its austerity drive.