In an emotional response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's jibes at her Italian origins, Sonia Gandhi tonight at a rally in Kerala 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 her. "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.

 

"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 loves is mingled," she said pointing out that the sole objective of Prime Minister Modi was to indulge in character assassination of his adversaries and 'spread lies'.

   

"I cannot expect Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to understand and respect my 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.