New Delhi: Remarks made by Narendra Modi about him in a television interview that has commissioned a huge controversy are "baseless and ridiculous," said Ahmed Patel to NDTV today. (Amid Edited Remarks, Modi's Comments on Ahmed Patel 'Friendship')
Mr Patel, the powerful political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, told NDTV, "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)."
His comments were in response to Mr Modi alleging that they were "good friends" in the past.
In the interview shot by national broadcaster Doordarshan, the BJP leader goes on to say, "Not now, perhaps not now. It seems he has a problem with me and keeps his distance from me. " (Also Read: 'Open to Talks With Like-minded Parties to Keep BJP at Bay': Ahmed Patel)
The remarks by Mr Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, were dropped from the interview that aired on Sunday.
The BJP has alleged blatant censorship by the government, which has rejected the charges. Doordarsahan officials say the show was edited purely for technical reasons.
Mr Patel told NDTV that he has not met Mr Modi since he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, except for once at the airport in the aftermath of the serial blasts in Ahmedabad in 2008. (Elections: Full Coverage)
"How is a man who doesn't have friends within his own party claiming friendship with arch rivals?" said Mr Patel to NDTV.
"If he can't even invite Advani-ji for a meal, how can he invite me?" he added, referring to the well-known friction between Mr Modi and LK Advani, the BJP's senior-most leader, who has been forced to the margins of the party now. (Video: Modi shadow over Advani's campaign)