In an emotional response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s jibes at her Italian origins, Sonia Gandhi tonight said India is her home and “it is here that my ashes will mingle with my loved ones”.
The Congress President used an election rally here to hit back at Modi after the Prime Minister raked up her Italian roots twice in the last three days while making a veiled attack on her over the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal.
Sonia’s response came while concluding her speech when she said she wanted to share something personal, not politics, about the Prime Minister’s statement “about Congress and particularly about me”.
“Yes, I was born in Italy. I came to India in 1968 as the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I have spent 48 years of my life in India. This is my home. This is my country,” Sonia said while referring to Modi’s sarcastic queries to the gathering at his two poll rallies in Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Friday and Sunday whether they had any relatives in Italy.
Sonia said that all her 48 years in India, RSS, BJP and some other parties had always “taunted me to shame me for my birth”.
“I was born to proud and honest parents. I will never be ashamed of them. Yes, I have relatives in Italy. I have a 93-year-old mother and two sisters. But it is here, in my country, India, it is in this part that the blood of my loved ones is mingled.
“It is here that I will breathe my last. It is here that my ashes will mingle with yours and my loved ones,” she said, pointing out that the sole objective of Prime Minister Modi was to “indulge in character assassination of his adversaries and ‘spread lies’”.
The Prime Minister can “sink to whatever depths” to challenge my integrity, she said, but he cannot take away the truth from my commitment and love for India.
“I cannot expect Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to understand this feelings. But I know, I am sure you will,” she told the gathering at her second rally on the first day of her campaigning in poll-bound Kerala.