UPA unity should not be undermined: PM

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of `weak UPA` remarks by key coalition partner Sharad Pawar, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the government`s "cohesiveness" should not be undermined even as he admitted that "differences" are bound to be there in a coalition.He insisted that government was functioning with the "coherence" required to carry out its mandate.

"We are in a coalition government. In a coalition government, there are bound to be differences," Singh said when referred to remarks by Agriculture Minister and NCP chief that the UPA-II was "weak" and the attitude of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on various issues.

"The real test is that we should not allow these differences to undermine cohesiveness of the government," the Prime Minister said last evening while interacting with accompanying journalists on board his special plane on his way back from Pretoria after a three-day visit.

He, however, added, "You have my assurance that despite different perspectives that various members of the coalition may have, managing the Cabinet of the UPA has never been a difficult task. "Our government functions with coherence which it needs to carry out the mandate given by the people." .

When his attention was drawn to comments by some ministers about `judicial interventions in policy-making`, Singh said ministers "sometimes take advantage" of democracy "to express opinions".

"But as a government, we have high respect and high regard for judiciary and it is my sincere belief that the Constitution has laid down the path which the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary should follow. And if all of us follow the Constitutional dharma, I think things would turn out to be all right," he said.

To a question about Law Minister Salman Khurshid`s comment that locking up of top business executives would hurt investments, Singh said, "Well, it would not be proper for me to comment on the stray thoughts of what my Minister has said." The Prime Minister noted that "there are legal remedies available in our system. Whenever anybody gets on the wrong side of the law, and he or she is put behind bars, there are legal ways to get redressal."

He pointed out that the country has a functioning democracy in which all the three wings of the establishment- the Executive, the Judiciary, the Legislature — have a well defined role to play. He did not reply to certain adverse comments reportedly made by Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai about the government, saying he had not seen such a statement.