New Delhi: In his exclusive interview to Zee, PM Modi on Thursday was asked about the furore over his calling former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi ‘Bhrashtachari number 1’.

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He was asked, “You raised the issue of Rajiv Gandhi after the fourth phase. Did it just spill out of your mouth or you wanted to deliberately drag a deceased leader?”

Replying, PM Modi said, “Naamdaar has said it publicly that it was a well thought-out strategy to malign my image. So then I thought I have been here for 45 years and they’re maligning me whereas I only gave factual information (about Rajiv Gandhi). I wanted to highlight how their Mr Clean was actually a controversial figure.”

“Also, he was a prime minister, not a current one. Don’t we all discuss Emergency? I haven’t used abusive language, I am only stating facts,” he added.

Addressing the Congress, he said, “If you seek votes in a deceased leader’s name, you should be ready to answer all questions relating to that leader. You will have to answer us about Bofors.”

The PM asked about Kamal Nath’s elevation as the CM. He also pointed out that there was a world of a difference in invoking his father and Rahul Gandhi’s father during the political discourse. He said, “My father wasn’t a public figure, so why talk about him?”