The Gujarat government has said that Chief Minister Narendra Modi's Sadbhavna fasts were organised on the directives of various central government ministries with an objective to preserve communal harmony and strengthen national unity.
A letter from the Dr Kamla Beniwal's principal secretary Arvind Joshi to former Gujarat minister Gordhan Zadafia, president of the Mahagujarat Janta Party, said, "With regard to your representation to know the rationale behind Chief Minister Narendra Modi's fasts and expenditure incurred on it, a report was called from the state government."
The letter of March 2 was released to the media by Zadafia on Sunday.
Zadafia, who was minister of state for home during the post-Godhra riots, had sought the governor's intervention to know the purpose and expenditure incurred on the Sadbhavna fasts, after the state government did not respond to his queries last year.
"As per the interim report received from the home department, the Sadbhavna fasts were organised by the state government in accordance with directions from various central government ministries, with an objective to preserve communal harmony in various communities of the state which will strengthen national unity," the letter said.
Modi had launched the Sadbhavna fasts with a three-day fast in Ahmedabad on his birthday -- September 17 last year. This was followed by 33 one-day fasts across the state which ended on February 12.
The letter did not mention the total expenditure incurred on all the Sadbhavna fasts by the government. It stated that Rs 1.57 crore was spent on the three-day fast by Modi at the Gujarat University convention hall in Ahemdabad, between September 17 and September 19.
In a press statement, Zadafia brushed aside the figures given by the state government, saying they were a "lie". He also sought to know from the Modi government as to which circular issued by the central government had directed the state government to organise such fasts.
Between September and December last year, Zadafia had sent four letters to the state government, seeking the rationale and details of expenditure incurred on the fasts.
With no response from the state government, Zadafia had sought the governor's intervention.