Dec 14, 2012 at 08:49pm IST

Gujarat elections: Sonia, Modi lock horns over Sir Creek issue

Ahmedabad: An age old India-Pakistan dispute over how to divide control of the sea at Sir Creek has now become the latest flashpoint between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress party. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has alleged that the UPA government has failed to protect India's interests. Reacting to the allegations, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has hit back and accused the Chief Minister of raising the communal card.

"Till our lives are there we will not give Sir Creek to anyone...the Centre is failing to protect India's interests," said Modi bringing to Gujarat's electoral stage an age old India-Pakistan dispute over control of the sea in Sir Creek.

His allegation that the Centre was planning to concede more than it should is timed with the elections in Gujarat and the visit of Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik to India.

However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was quick to hit back as she alleged that a nervous Modi was using a long pending diplomatic tussle to raise local communal passion for electoral reasons.

And in the midst of the Modi-Sonia face off, the control over the waters of Sir Creek in Gujarat's Kachh region is a key dispute. While India has said that the creek must be divided in the middle, Pakistan is adamant on claiming the entire creek.

It is of huge importance to the enormous fishing community in Gujarat who are often lured by the rich catch and several fishermen from the state have been arrested by Pakistan for crossing into their waters. The question is that with so much domestic political sentiment attached to this issue, will there ever be a diplomatic solution.