Special Correspondent

Damage control exercise reportedly on orders of Manmohan

NEW DELHI: After being reprimanded by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his controversial remarks on the Home Ministry while in China over the weekend, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday met Home Minister P. Chidambaram to explain his utterances.

Mr. Ramesh was tight-lipped about the 15-minute meeting, but is understood to have apologised for his remarks.

Mr. Chidambaram had written to Dr. Singh, complaining about Mr. Ramesh's comments that the Home Ministry was “overly defensive” and “alarmist” in its attitude towards allowing Chinese companies into India.

The damage-control exercise was reportedly on the orders of the Prime Minister himself. While being reprimanded on Monday, Mr. Ramesh was told that instead of explaining the context of his remarks to Dr. Singh, he would do better to explain to the Home Minister in person.

It is learnt that although Mr. Ramesh immediately sought a meeting with Mr. Chidambaram, he granted an appointment only on Wednesday.

It may be recalled that after being criticised for questioning the Home Minister's anti-Naxal policy recently, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh had met Mr. Chidambaram in person to clarify his stance.

Mr. Ramesh, who was in China to attend a conference on climate change, was slammed by his own Congress party as well as the BJP for making critical comments on an issue of national security regarding another Ministry while in a neighbouring country. In fact, the BJP demanded his resignation.

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