Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that P Chidambaram was the best person to explain his remark that the home minister had a "limited mandate" in the fight against Maoists.
The senior Congress leader also ruled out a public debate on the issue.
"I don't want to make any comment on what my distinguished colleague said. He is the best person to explain in what context he said (that). But this much I can tell: In the discussion in cabinet or the appropriate cabinet committee, various persons may give their views. That is nothing unusual…. But once the decision is taken, everybody follows that decision," Mukherjee said on the CNN-IBN programme Devil's Advocate.
Asked if Chidambaram was disenchanted because he did not get a larger mandate, Mukherjee said, "No, these are issues that we will have to discuss in the cabinet. There cannot be a public debate because the fact of the matter is (that) the proposals of the home ministry have been adopted by the cabinet and appropriate measures have already been taken."
Asked if the country should worry that its top ministers could not agree, Mukherjee said, "I don't think there is any reason to be worried because…. nobody in the cabinet has stated that we should not take action against the terrorists and the Naxalites."
However, he added that he himself would "never express any differences" and share them in the appropriate forum and not in public.
So was Chidambaram correct in making them public? Mukherjee responded, "I cannot sit on a value judgement on what he said and in what context…."
He said, "I express my views in the cabinet alone or in the appropriate committee of the cabinet and thereafter I go by the decision."
Asked if Chidambaram was not observing these norms, Mukherjee shot back, "You are unnecessarily bringing the home minister's name… You are taking the interview of the finance minister, not of the home minister."