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Monday, April 22, 2024

Emotional Priyanka recalls her first visit to TN over 30 yrs ago to receive Rajiv’s body


 Congress General Secretary and former AICC President Sonia

Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka turned emotional, terming her first visit to Tamil Nadu as the

darkest night of her life over 30 years ago, as a 19-year-old to receive her father former

Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s mortal remains, who was assassinated on May 21, 1991

during an election rally at Sriperumbudur, about 40 m from here.

Starting her address in the Women’s Rights Conference organised by the DMK here on

Saturday night demanding immediate implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill

passed in Parliament, Ms Priyanka turned emotional and recalled the day 30 years ago

when she came here to receiver her father’s body.

“Almost thirty two years ago, on the darkest night of my life, I first set foot on this land of

Tamil Nadu to collect my father’s shattered body”, she said, in a voice choked with emotion.

“I was nineteen years old, and my mother was just a few years younger than I am today.

As the door of the plane opened, the night grabbed us and drew us in, but I was not afraid

of it because the worst thing I could have imagined had already happened”, she recalled.

“A few hours earlier, my father had been killed. I had walked towards my mother that night

knowing that the words I was to speak would break her heart”, Ms Priyanka said.

“Yet I spoke them, and I watched as the light of happiness was extinguished from her eyes

forever”, she added.

“We walked down the stairs of the plane onto the tarmac of Meenambakam airport terminal,

shocked and alone. Then suddenly, as if sent by the embarrassed Gods who had failed us,

a crowd of women dressed in blue saris surrounded us”, Ms Priyanka said.

“They were ladies who worked at the airport, they held my mother in their arms and cried

inconsolably with her as if they were all my mothers, as if they too had lost their beloved”,

she said.

“In those shared tears, a bond formed between my heart and the women of Tamil Nadu,

that I can neither explain, nor ever erase”, Ms Priyanka said.

“You are my mothers, you are my sisters, and I am honored to be here today, to have the

opportunity to speak to you about us: the women of India”, she said, adding “I am here to

remind you that we are the strength of this proud and beautiful nation which is our


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