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Narendra Modi-Ahmad Patel: a one way friendship?



Patel: Sonia's confidante

Patel: Sonia’s confidante no 1

New Delhi: recently, when Narendra Modi’s claimed in an interview to Doordarshan that Ahmad Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s closest political aide is an old friend of his, it was an attempt to appropriate that the Congress did not appreciate. Neither did Ahmad Patel. It is a measure of political insecurities and anxieties that Patel’s denial and refusal to endorse an old acquaintance made national news for a whole day if not more.

Patel claimed that Modi’s “ridiculous” claims of their meeting or the two sharing friendship were a “political stunt” to create “confusion” in the midst of elections as reported first by the press on Thursday. 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 CM, Patel said Modi did come to his place for lunch when he was BJP general secretary in the eighties. “I never had any one-on-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 friendships should remain.” “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 ‘Mian Ahmed’.

Responding to claims of great familiarity on Modi’s part, 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.”

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