After Home Minister P. Chidambaram talked about a “limited mandate” in the fight against Naxals, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said the issue will be discussed in the Cabinet and there “cannot be a public debate on the problem.”

“No, these are issues that we will have to discuss in the Cabinet. There cannot be a public debate because the fact of the matter is [that] the proposals of the Home Ministry have been adopted by the Cabinet and appropriate measures have already been taken. But in what context the Home Minister made these observations — he is the best person to explain it,” Mr. Mukherjee told Karan Thapar in “Devil's Advocate” programme on CNN-IBN.

The Finance Minister was replying to a question about Mr. Chidambaram's comments that he had got a limited mandate to deal with the Maoist problem.

Asked if the Home Minister should explain why he went public about the differences in the Cabinet meetings on the Naxal issue, Mr. Mukherjee said: “I am saying that in what context what he said, he is in a better position to explain about it ... These things we do not share in public, these things are not to be shared in public.”

Mr. Mukherjee said he would “never” express any differences with anybody in public and noted, “Whatever decision is taken in the Cabinet I may have a view — I express my views in the Cabinet alone, or in the appropriate committee of the Cabinet, and, thereafter, I go by the decision.”

On whether Mr. Chidambaram was correct in making differences within public, the Finance Minister said: “I cannot sit on a value judgement on what he said and in what context he said, that's why I am repeatedly saying he is the best person to explain.”

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