Thiruvanathapuram: On the campaign trail in poll-bound Kerala, Sonia Gandhi today issued a direct and emotionally charged response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s veiled attack on her over the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland scam in Tamil Nadu a few days ago.
At the end of her political speech at a public rally in Thirvanathapuram, Sonia turned to the audience and said she wanted to share something that was not political but needed to be said.
“I must tell you something after India’s Prime Minister NArendra Modi’s comments in an election rally in Tamil Nadu,” Sonia Gandhi said referring to PM Modi’s jibe at her over her name cropping up in the Milan court’s ruling in the VVIP choppers scam that indicted Finmeccanica officials for paying bribes to secure the deal from India.
Asserting that India was her country and that the Prime Minister could not take away her commitment to India, the Congress president said, “I spent 48 years of my life in India, this is my home and this is my country.”
Sonia further responded to frequent charges levelled against her over her Italian origin. “Yes, I was born in Italy. I came to India in 1968 as the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi,” she said, adding that despite her family laying down their lives for the country and she herself spending such long years in India, she has been subject to constant barbs from the BJP and the RSS over her Italian origin.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot take away my commitment to and love for India, my country. India is my home.It is here that I'll breathe my last and here that my ashes will mingle with my loved ones,” she added.
Addressing a rally in Tamil Nadu’s Hosur recently, Modi had said that those responsible for the helicopter scam must be punished.
"They were identified as culprits by the people of Italy, what can we do? I haven't been to Italy, I don't know anyone there," the Prime Minister said, in an apparent reference to the Congress president.
Several notings of the middlemen refer to the Congress president as influential people to approach to secure the deal. The Congress, on its part, has said that since the party was in government, it was natural for the officials to consider its top leaders as influential.