Embarrassed Patel denies friendship with Modi
Already shorn of his pre-eminent position in the party hierarchy, Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has now been put on the defensive with BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi claiming that the Congress leader was his personal friend. Reacting to the comments made by Modi in his interview to Doordarshan, which were not telecast, Patel on Friday said, ‘Modi’s remarks that we were good friends was baseless and ridiculous.’
‘I totally deny any closeness to a man who is set to divide India. I will leave public life if Modi can prove I have gone to his house or office since he became chief minister (of Gujarat),’ Patel told a TV news channel. In the Doordarshan interview, Modi had referred to Patel, as a ‘good friend’ who had stopped taking his calls. In the unedited version, Modi said: ‘Ahmed bhai was among the best friends I had in Congress, but not any more. I had a good friendship with him and would have preferred that it had remained so, but he now runs away from me and doesn’t take my calls.’ Modi added they had even dined at each other’s houses.
Patel said, ‘Modi’s claim of our meeting and sharing friendship was a political stunt to create confusion in the midst of election.’ Patel said that Modi did come to his place for lunch when he was BJP general secretary in the eighties, but not after.