The Congress Friday called Narendra Modi a "serial liar" following his reference to Ahmed Patel as a good friend in an interview to Doordarshan, with the Congress leader also emphatically denying "any closeness" to the Gujarat chief minister.
Patel, who is political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said he would leave public life if it could be proved that he had visited Modi's house or office.
BJP's prime ministerial candidate Modi, in an edited-out portion of his interview to state-run Doordarshan, had referred to Patel as a "good friend who's stopped taking calls".
With TV channels telecasting the edited-out portion of Modi, Patel told reporters: "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). How can a man who doesn't have friends in his own party claim friendship with me," Patel added.
Patel said he had never visited Modi's house or office or asked him for any favour.
Modi in the edited-out portion of the interview had referred to Patel as among his best friends of the past in the Congress.
"Ahmedbhai is among the best friends I have in Congress but not now... 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 said in the interview.
He also said they had even dined at each other's house.
Modi's office later released the unedited version of the interview.
Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha termed Modi a "serial liar".
"It (Modi's comments) establishes beyond doubt that he is constantly spreading lies with a clear purpose of misleading the people, the party and the country," Jha told IANS.
He added that Modi has a "laundry list" of having made distortions in his public speeches.
"His comment is a brazen lie. He is a serial liar," Jha added.