Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today said the coal issue will soon fade away from public memory as it happened in the case of the Bofors controversy.
"Earlier, the Bofors was a talking point. People forgot about it. Now it is coal. This too will be forgotten," Mr Shinde said in a lighter vein at a function.
"Once hands are washed off coal, they again become clean," the home minister said, sending ripples among the audience gathered for an award distribution ceremony in memory of eminent Marathi poet, late Narayan Surve.
Mr Shinde was reacting to the remark of one of the awardees, Vilas Patil, who said, "Earlier, diamonds used to be discovered from coal mines. Now mines are throwing up strange people".
When reporters quizzed Mr Shinde about his remark after the function, he said, "Do you remember petrol pumps (scam) during NDA rule?"
When asked if there is any possibility of mid-term polls against the backdrop of Opposition BJP staying firm on its demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in connection with allocation of coal blocks, Mr Shinde replied in the negative.
He said he was hopeful of a solution to the logjam in Parliament. "UPA is strong and has the support of (SP chief) Mulayam Singh (Yadav)," he said.
On Centre's decisions to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and civil aviation, Mr Shinde said "there was no other option in view of the global economic situation".
He said hike in diesel prices was "inevitable".
Replying to a query, Mr Shinde said UPA allies should be told about the reasons behind these policy decisions and the necessity of economic reforms.
The Home Minister, on the issue of the multiple bomb blasts in Pune on August 1, said the probe was being handled by the Maharashtra Police and not Central agencies.