The Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday sought to downplay the controversy back home over the reference made by Manmohan Singh to his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee's criticism of the India United States nuclear deal during his talks with President George W Bush in New York on Tuesday.
During a discussion on their July 18 joint statement that contained the US administration's commitment to work towards lifting of restrictions on the sale of fuel and equipment to India's civilian nuclear programme, the two leaders had spoken of parliamentary reactions in the two countries to the deal.
Bush was hopeful that he would get the US congressional approval for the deal and Singh told him that the Indian Parliament had discussed it and he had its backing.
However, the Prime Minister mentioned Vajpayee's criticism which had come as a surprise to him. When his reaction was sought to the controversy over the criticism of these remarks by Bharatiya Janata Party and Communist Party of India, the prime minister's media adviser Sanjaya Baru said the reference to Vajpayee was in the context of the President referring to the debate in the US Congress and Singh responding by mentioning the reaction in India.