After their reported differences over the finance ministry’s background note on 2G spectrum scam, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and home minister P Chidambaram will be coordinating with each other to run the government in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s absence.
In a circular issued by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, on the direction of the PM, for the members of the cabinet committee on political affairs (CCPA), it is said either the finance or the home minister may remain in Delhi during the period of the PM’s absence.
While the circular is issued in context of the PM’s upcoming three foreign visits in November, it has assumed significance in the backdrop of the recent tension between the two key ministries over the 2G note and is seen as an act of balancing the delicate power equations. The 2G note had questioned then finance minister P Chidambaram’s role in the 2G controversy.
But sources in the UPA tried to downplay the circular citing it as a routine direction before all foreign tours of the PM. “In September when both PM and FM were abroad, defence minister A K Antony was given additional duty.... This time, as FM is around, Antony has not been given the responsibility of heading the CCPA.”
Singh will be away from November 2 to 5 November for the G20 Summit at Cannes. He will be in Maldives from November 9 to 12 for the SAARC meet and between November 18 and 20 will attend the East Asia Summit in Indonesia and a bilateral visit to Singapore.