Ahmedabad/New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hit back at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claiming he had failed to answer the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's questions on Sir Creek. Modi said that the Prime Minister must assure the nation on the stand taken on the issue.
The Gujarat Chief Minister posted a tweet: "PM has failed to answer my questions on Sir Creek. He should assure the nation that he has taken no decision to give Sir Creek to Pakistan."
The BJP strongman pointed that he raised the issue earlier as well. He said, "Earlier also I expressed my concern on Sir Creek during a CM's conference in April 2012. It was in my speech too but PM remained silent."
He further hit out at the Prime Minister saying he should not try to mislead the nation by bringing in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's name, pointing that the former prime minister had not even allowed the issue to be raised in Agra in 2001.
This came after the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday rejected a claim by Modi that Sir Creek was being "handed over" to Pakistan. In a letter to Modi, the PMO said, "The writing and release of this baseless letter by the Chief Minister of Gujarat in his personal capacity, a day before elections in the state, is mischievous."
Responding to a letter written by Modi to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the PMO said, "Allegation in the letter that Sir Creek is about to be given to Pakistan is untrue...The other conclusions drawn by Shri Modi on this alleged fact are also not real." Raising question over the timing of the letter, the PMO said, "The contents of the letter and the timing of its release to the public raise questions about the motives behind its issue."
It also said that the Gujarat Chief Minister has written the letter without making any efforts to ascertain the facts from the Government of India. The PMO pointed out that the discussions on Sir Creek have been going on for a long time and they were even on when the Bharatiya Janata Party was the country.
"The (Sir Creek) discussions have been carried out by successive Governments of India since the dialogue process began in 1998...These discussions continued after Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit to Lahore," it said. Modi expressed apprehensions just ahead of Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik will be travelling here from December 14 to discuss a range of bilateral issues.
Modi, in his letter to the Prime Minister, had said Sir Creek, a marshy land in Gujarat, should "not be handed over to Pakistan" and talks on this issue should be stopped.
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram also refuted the allegations terming them "ridiculous". He said: "If anybody is suggesting that India is handing over Sir Creek to Pakistan, then it is a ridiculous suggestion."
(With Additional Inputs from PTI)