CPI(M) attacked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for giving a clean chit to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for her remarks on Maoist leader Azad’s death, saying the Congress leader was bound by political compulsions.

“Being a junior partner of Trinamool in West Bengal, he is trying to defend the indefensible. The Finance Minister is bound by political compulsions,” senior CPM leader Brinda Karat told reporters outside Parliament.

In Kolkata on Sunday, Mr. Mukherjee had said that Ms. Banerjee advocating talks with the Maoists doesn’t mean she has links with them.

He had also said though the Railway Minister was part of the UPA, her party could have independent thinking on issues.

Commenting on the matter, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “the Prime Minister should explain why he is saying that Maoist violence is the biggest threat to the internal security of the country. He should say that whatever he has said is wrong and what Ms. Banerjee said is right.”