Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had a spat on food prices after the former accused him of politicising the issue of Congress election promise to provide wheat or rice to the poor at Rs. 3 a kg.

At the conference of Chief Ministers here on Saturday, Mr. Mukherjee intervened when Mr. Modi criticised the United Progressive Alliance government for not fulfilling its promise of providing 25 kg. of foodgrains at Rs. 3 a kg to the BPL population. “The promise should have been fulfilled on a priority basis now when the poor are facing unprecedented price rise.” Nor had the community kitchen scheme for the urban poor been launched by the UPA, the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Mukherjee asked Mr. Modi not to politicise the issue of price rise. “What you are saying is wrong. Our government has worked and worked in your State too.”

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

Later, asked about the spat with Mr. Mukherjee, Mr. Modi told journalists: “I am only asking them to at least meet their own election promise. What politics is there in this?”

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