In a clear message to his ministers on the issue of airing differences in public, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said it would be right if they expressed opposing views inside the Cabinet.
"It is not good that ministers should air their differences in public," he said when asked to react on some ministers openly differing with the government's viewpoints on various issues.
Pointing out that Cabinet meetings were being held every week, he said, "For the past six years, our Cabinet has met almost on schedule every week. So, the ministers have enough opportunity to air their views.
"If the views are aired in the Cabinet, I think that is the right thing to do," Singh said.
His reaction assumes significance against the backdrop of Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee opposing the Union Government's decision to carry out joint security operations against Maoists in West Bengal.
Asked about the controversy surrounding Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement that he had a "limited mandate" to tackle the left wing extremism, the Prime Minister said the minister had explained what he had meant.
The matter was "related to issues of strategy. It will be discussed in the appropriate forum and that is the Cabinet," he said while describing the Maoist threat as "the single biggest challenge to internal security".