“Yes, I was born in Italy. But in 1968 I came to India as the daughter-in-law of (then prime minister) Indira Gandhi,” Gandhi told an election rally here.
“It is now 48 years that I have been in India. This is my home and this is my country,” she told the thousands gathered to listen to her.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Sunday taunted Sonia Gandhi on her Italian origins while addressing election meetings.
Before winding up her speech, Gandhi told the crowds that she wanted to share some personal things. “It’s nothing political,” she said.
Gandhi said that for the past 48 years, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties had been taunting her.
“I wish to say I am very proud of my parents who have been always honest. Yes, I have relatives in Italy, I have a 93-year-old mother and two sisters.”
In an obvious reference to Indira Gandhi and her late husband Rajiv Gandhi, she said: “The blood of my loved ones is mingled in this country, which is also my country. It will be here that I will breathe my last and my ashes will be mingled with my loved ones here.”
The Congress leader said Modi was free to go to any length to question her credentials.
“But he will never be able to take away my commitment to my country. I cannot expect Modi to understand my feelings, but not you,” she said.
Gandhi arrived in Kerala on Monday evening. After addressing a rally at Thrissur, she flew to the capital city.
In her speeches, she urged the people to vote for the Oommen Chandy government which she said had done “an excellent job” and needed a second term.
The Left Democratic Front would only take Kerala back “through wrong policies”, she said.