Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel on Friday said he would quit politics if BJP prime ministeral candidate Narendra Modi could prove that they were both very good friends, and had visited each other's homes.
Describing Modi's claim of friendship as "baseless and ridiculous," Patel was quoted by television channels, as saying: "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)."
Modi had made the claim of friendship with Patel during an interview given to national broadcaster Doordarshan earlier this week.
Modi said there was a time when he was very good friends with Patel, but added that such was not the case now, as Patel has been keeping his distance and not taking his calls.
A controversy arose after references to Patel were edited out of the aired interview on Sunday.
The BJP and Modi cried foul, and have since reportedly released an unedited version of the interview through the Gujarat chief minister's office to establish Modi's credibility.
The BJP has alleged blatant censorship by the government, which has rejected the charges. Doordarshan officials say the show was edited purely for technical reasons.