Plays down row over MoF note
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A day after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram reached an understanding following the former's statement distancing himself from the controversial Finance Ministry note, it was business as usual for the two senior ministers of the UPA government as they exchanged notes at the Cabinet meeting on Friday. At least on a couple of occasions, the two ministers were seen leaning towards each other — with Sharad Pawar and A K Antony seated between them — to discuss agenda-related issues.
At a press conference later in the day, the Home Minister gave clear indications that he was eager to let bygones be bygones as he skirted persistent queries about his truce with the Finance Minister. Asked if he had offered to resign in the past 10 days, Chidambaram replied in jest, "I have a short memory." When he was asked whether he had offered to resign three times in the past, he said, again in jest, "Along with a short memory, I am also poor in counting."
Asked if he was not denying that he had offered to resign, he said, "There is nothing in the question that concerns the Home Ministry. The answer is no answer." To another question whether he felt weakened by the controversy, the Home Minister said he did not recall anything of that in the Home Ministry. Asked about an "unending rivalry" between him and Subramanian Swamy, he said, "There is nothing that concerns the Home Minister." As a reporter sought to stress that the issue concerned the Home Minister, Chidambaram replied, "It doesn't. There is and there will always be a Home Minister in this country."
At another press conference, to a volley of questions regarding reports about Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's offer of resignation and the fact that he did not deny it, Congress spokesperson Renuka Choudhury said, "If somebody asks, 'did you beat your wife today? Yes or no?', what will we say?"
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