The controversy over Narendra Modi’s interview to Doordarshan intensified on Friday with Sonia Gandhi’s political aide Ahmed Patel refuting the BJP’s PM candidate’s claims of closeness between them, saying the remarks were “baseless” and “a complete lie”.
He said Modi’s “ridiculous” claims of their meeting or the two sharing friendship were a “political stunt” to create “confusion” in the midst of election and offered to quit public life if there was any proof of having taken favours from the Gujarat Chief Minister.
“This is a political stunt to create confusion and create a cloud of doubt in the midst of elections. How can Modi be able to make friendship with me when he has never been able to strike friendship within his own party?”, he said.
Insisting that he never had any meeting with Modi either in his office or at his residence nor had he taken any favour from the Gujarat Chief Minister, Patel said that Modi did come to his place for lunch when he was BJP General Secretary in the eighties.
Besides that, “I never had any one-to-one meeting with Modi before or after the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002.”
The BJP’s PM candidate, in an interview to Doordarshan, had said: “Ahmedbhai has been one of my very good friends in Congress. He is not so now. Perhaps he is having some difficulty now and he avoids me as he does not take even my phone calls.
“I used to go to his residence to dine with him. It was a good friendship and I believe that personal friendship should remain,” he said.
“We never used to call him Ahmedbhai. For years, we used to call him Babubhai. This is not known outside. For us Ahmedbhai was Babubhai. But in public life he has to be given respect. It will not look good if I call him Babubhai. Calling him Mian Sahab is very honourable and I use this honourable word,” he said responding to questions including as to why he used to call Patel ‘Mianbhai’.
Responding to it, Patel said, “I do not know who are and who are not his friends in Congress, but if somebody is saying that I was very close to him or is very close friend….It is all to create doubts in the midst of elections. It is all baseless and ridiculous, a complete lie.
“If he proves that I ever visited his house or his office or taken any favour, I will quit public life”.