Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday had a spat during the Chief Ministers’ conference on food prices here after the former accused Mr. Modi of politicising the issue of the election promise made by the Congress to provide Rs.3 per kg wheat or rice to the poor.

Mr. Mukherjee intervened after Mr. Modi criticised the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for not fulfilling its election promise of providing 25 kg of food grains at Rs.3 per kg to the below poverty line population. “The promise should have been fulfilled on priority basis now when the poor are facing unprecedented price rise.”

Mr. Mukherjee said: “What you are saying is wrong. Our government has worked and worked in your State too.”

The war of words that broke out between the two leaders was halted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said that they had come together to assess the situation and solve the problem.

Mr. Modi, however, said the UPA should have had a discussion on a serious issue like price rise much earlier. When asked about the spat later, Mr. Modi said, “I am only asking them to at least meet their election promise. What is politics in it?”