Unnao gold hunt: Modi does a U-turn, says he respects seer

BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi found himself in a tight spot on Sunday after his remarks on Unnao seer Shobhan Sarkar's 'gold dream' in a speech in Chennai sparked controversy.

In his speech, Modi had targeted the government questioning its rationale in excavating a heritage site in search of 1,000 tonnes of gold based on a man's dream.

 Unnao gold hunt: Modi does a U-turn, says he respects seer

BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi. AFP

"The whole world is making fun of us. Someone dreamt and the government has gone hunting for gold," he had said, adding, "you bring back the money that the looters have stashed in Swiss banks. That would be more than the value of 1,000 tonnes of gold."

Soon after his speech, an angry Sarkar reportedly wrote to Modi clarifying that the digging was not based on his dream, but Geological Survey of India reports from the area.

He also targeted the BJP for spending lavishly on Modi's rallies questioning where the funding was coming from.

"So much money is being spent by BJP on your branding and portraying you as the next PM. Where is all this money coming from? Is it white or black?" he said, reported CNN-IBN.

On Monday morning, the Gujarat CM clarified his stand on Twitter saying he had no intention of insulting the seer and his jibe was directed at the Centre for its inability to bring back unaccounted money stashed away in Swiss bank accounts.

"Many people in India follow Saint Sushobhan Sarkar. I give due respect to that.

I request the government of India to come clean on black money and present a white paper on it," Modi tweeted this morning.

The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate came a couple of days after his first major speech in Uttar Pradesh, where the party is hoping to make major inroads during the 2014 national elections. While the ascetic's sphere of influence may not extend throughout the state, the Gujarat Chief Minister perhaps decided to play safe as he ramps up his campaign.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is presently excavating the Daundiya Kheda site near Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, where antiquities belonging to the region's ruler in 1857 are believed to be buried.

Local ascetic Sarkar was 'informed in a dream' of 1,000 tonnes of gold buried near Rao Raja Ram Baksh Singh's abandoned fort.

Sarkar had also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the late king came in his dreams and asked him to get the treasure dug up and hand it over to the government of India to tide over the economic crisis.

Updated Date: Oct 21, 2013 14:04:07 IST