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    CONGRESS president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel Friday refuted Narendra Modi’s claims that they shared a warm friendship.

    “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?”, Patel said, reacting to Modi’s claims in an interview to the Doordarshan, which were edited out by the broadcaster.

    He said Modi’s claims of closeness between them were “baseless” and “a complete lie”. In the interview, Modi had claimed that he used to go to Patel’s residence and dine with him. Patel said Modi did come to his place for lunch when he was BJP general secretary in the eighties. “But I never had any one-on-one meeting with Modi before or after the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002,” 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,” Patel said.

    “It is far from truth what he is talking about our dining at each other’s house. I remember once in the eighties he had come to my residence, when he was general secretary of BJP in the eighties. I did offer him food then.... When he became CM for the first time... he used to call me on phone whenever there was a festival and I used to answer him out of courtesy, to acknowledge that his phone call had come,” he said.
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