Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said there was no controversy in the exchange of letters between Home Minister P. Chidambaram and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. According to him, Mr. Chidambaram only fulfilled his constitutional duty by writing to Mr. Bhattacharjee on the State's law and order situation.

“Where is the controversy,” he wondered, when reporters sought his opinion on the issue.

Asked whether the Home Minister had been acting in a partisan manner, he shot back: “Why partisan?”

Mr. Bhattacharjee said in his reply on December 28 that Mr. Chidambaram's letter was far from an impartial view of the State's situation.

Mr. Mukherjee said that the Home Minister must seek information if he felt that there was any deterioration in the law and order situation. “It is for the Central Minister to send a letter and it is for the Chief Minister to reply. Mr. Bhattacharjee has sent his replies.”

On the use of the word ‘harmad' in Mr. Chidambaram's letter, referring to CPI(M) workers, which had been strongly objected to by Mr. Bhattacharjee and senior party leaders, Mr. Mukherjee suggested that reporters direct their queries to the person who used the word and those who objected to it.