The Congress on Monday downplayed reports of a disagreement between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee over Dr Singh's offer to appear before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee over the 2G spectrum issue, saying Mukherjee was only underlining the legal position.
"The finance minister has himself clarified his statement. Mukherjee was only underlining the legal position that it was not binding on the prime minister to appear before the PAC," said party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi
"In fact, he was explaining and underlining what the prime minister himself has conveyed. The PM's statement was also the same that there was no legal binding on him," Singhvi told reporters at the All India Congress Committee briefing.
He said there was no legal binding on the prime minister to appear before the PAC. He had voluntarily made this offer on moral grounds as he had wanted the Opposition's cooperation, said Singhvi.
Mukherjee on Sunday caused a flutter in political circles by openly disagreeing with Dr Singh's offer to appear before the PAC, saying the decision had been taken 'without consulting us'.
The finance minister, who is also the Leader of the Lok Sabha, said the prime minister was accountable to the Lok Sabha and 'not to any committee'.
"The prime minister's offer to appear before the PAC was a decision taken by him without consulting us. If he had discussed it with me, I would have advised him not to offer to appear before the PAC," Mukherjee had told a special meeting of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee in Kolkata.
"Constitutionally, the prime minister is accountable to the Lok Sabha and not to any committee," Mukherjee said on Dr Singh's letter to PAC chairman Murli Manohar Joshi on December 27, offering to appear before the panel.
As news channels ran reports on his comments, Mukherjee in the evening sought to clarify the position, denying any differences on the issue with the prime minister.