Pranab Mukerjee denies rift with the Prime Minister

Kolkata: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today denied a rift with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the latter's offer to appear before the Public Accounts Committee on the 2G spectrum issue.

"It is wrong to state that there have been differences of opinion between me and the PM on his offer to appear before the PAC. I have said though Prime Minister had offered to appear before PAC, I would not have done so.  I had also given an example that ministers did not appear before any parliamentary committee. This is because the parliamentary committees are part, while Parliament is the whole," he said.

"Ministers have personal responsiblity to be answerable to Parliament and not before a part. If someone does not understand this what can I do?" he asked.

"The Prime Minister has offered to appear before PAC to resolve the deadlock in Parliament. This is not a matter of difference between the prime minister and finance minister."

Asked how he expected the logjam in Parliament to end with the budget session of Parliament ahead, Mukherjee said he was grateful to Speaker Meira Kumar for holding two meetings to end the Parliament logjam. "In the last meeting a suggestion was made that I as
the Leader of the House should continue the exercise so that the impasse that has been created is resolved. I shall try to do that. I hope that the budget session will run smoothly."

Referring to the winter session washed out on 2G scam, he said "What has happened is distortion. Distortion is temporary and normal functioning is permanent."