I will defend my ministers, says PM on Chidambaram
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday rejected the Opposition demand for the resignation of Home Minister P Chidambaram over the 2G issue and made it clear he will defend all his Cabinet colleagues.
Ahead of his meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New York on Sunday, Singh also said there is nothing "unusual" in the demand of the Opposition and asserted there is no question of him getting bothered about this.
"The business of the Opposition is to oppose and to depose the government in power, so this is nothing unsual they are doing," he told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session which he addressed on Saturday.
Please click NEXT to read further...
Image: PM Singh addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com
'All my ministers enjoy my confidence in full measure'
Singh was asked to comment on the strident demand of the Opposition for Chidambaram's resignation in the light of the finance ministry's 2G note to the Prime Minister's office submitted to the Supreme Court early this week.
The note that has kicked up a political storm suggested that the 2G scam could have been averted had the finance ministry then headed by Chidambaram insisted on the auction route instead of 2001 price for allotment of spectrum.
Singh replied in the negative when asked if he was bothered about the Opposition demand. "Why should I be bothered?" he asked.
Asked whether he will back Mukherjee like Chidambaram, Singh replied, "Of course all my ministers. They are I think ministers who enjoy my confidence in full measure."
Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram
'Nothing unusual in Pranab briefing me'
On his meeting on Sunday with Mukherjee, who is coming to New York from Washington, Singh saw nothing unusual in it.
"There are a lot of things happening in the world. There's the global economic crisis. He was at the (IMF-World Bank) meeting. So he would like to brief me. So there is nothing unusual in all this," he said.
Mukherjee, who is returning home on Sunday, will be reaching New York on Saturday night after rescheduling his programme slightly but fulfilling all the slated engagements.
Singh and Mukherjee are likely to discuss the whole 2G allotment issue in the wake of the latest controversy surrounding Chidambaram.
Ever since the finance ministry note surfaced, the Opposition parties have been baying for Chidambaram's blood.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister had fully backed Chidambaram and ruled out any infighting among the ministers.
"I don't know what note you are talking about. The whole 2G matter is before the court. I don't want to comment on a matter that is subjudice", he told journalists accompanying him from Frankfurt to New York.
"As far as Mr P Chidambaram is concerned, as Finance Minister, he had enjoyed my full confidence and as Home Minister he continues to enjoy and inspire my full confidence," he said.
Image: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee addressing a gathering in New York earlier in the week
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment