Ramesh offers to resign, PM turns in down

Ramesh offers to resign, PM turns in down

New Delhi: Union minister Jairam Ramesh offered to resign following his controversial remarks against Home Ministry for allegedly stalling some Chinese imports but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has turned it down, PMO sources said on Thursday.

Environment minister Ramesh had offered his resignation on Monday night after he had reportedly said in Beijing that the home ministry and the security establishment were being “alarmist and paranoid" when it came to Chinese companies wanting to do business in India, raising a storm.

PMO sources said Ramesh’s offer to put in his papers has been turned down by the Prime Minister.

Strongly disapproving of his remarks, the Prime Minister and the Congress had reprimanded him even as the Opposition BJP had demanded action against him for the “highly objectionable" comments.

Apparently sensing trouble, Ramesh had tried to clarify his statement in a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister soon after his return from Beijing on Monday but it failed to cut ice.

Home minister P Chidambaram had written a strongly- worded letter to Singh, expressing unhappiness over his Cabinet colleague’s remarks that his ministry had an “alarmist" approach towards Chinese investments and was putting “needless" restrictions on these.

After receiving letters from Chidambaram and Ramesh, Singh had spoken to Ramesh and told him that he should not have commented on functioning of other ministries.

Singh had told Ramesh it was “advisable for Cabinet colleagues not to make comments on the functioning of other ministries, especially with regard to relationship with important neighbours like China," according to PMO sources.

“There is no confusion in our policies towards China and we continue to strive for constructive engagement with Beijing," Singh had told Ramesh.

Ramesh had on Wednesday met Chidambaram and is said to have clarified the context of his statement.

Ramesh, while talking about the India-China warmth developed during the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change, had suggested that the home ministry needed to be “much more relaxed" in its approach to Chinese investments in India.