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Apr 16, 2008 at 01:46am IST

Priyanka revisits her past, comes to terms with Rajiv's death

New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi revisited her past that has haunted the Nehru-Gandhis for the past 17 years. Unnoticed and alone, she paid a visit to Nalini, who is the only survivor of the group that assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, in Vellore Jail on March 19 this year.

It is believed that Priyanka wanted to find out why her father, “a good man”, was killed.

In a short press statement, Priyanaka played down the significance of the visit and described it as a purely personal one, which should be respected.

She said, “I do not believe in anger, hatred and violence and I refuse to allow it any power over my life. The meeting with Nalini was my way of coming to peace with the violence and loss that I have experienced.”

According to Nalini's lawyer, in the one-on-one meeting, Priyanka wanted to know why her father was killed, and this is what transpired between the two:

Priyanka: My father was a good man. Why was he killed?

Nalini: I have no idea

Priyanka: Tell me who were involved? Was there any political party involved?

Nalini: I don't know. I had no idea of the conspiracy.

Rajiv Gandhi's assassination has been a catalyst of change in the Gandhi family and it precipitated in Sonia's reluctant entry into politics.

Sonia had years ago agreed to the commuting of the death sentence of the assassins. In 2005, Nalini's lawyers had filed a petition requesting that she be released after serving a 14-year-term. So Priyanka's visit may be a move to find out if Nalini requires further pardon from the family.

Meanwhile, Priyanka's brother and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi claimed that while he might not have joined his sister, he stands behind her.

“My sister and me have been brought up not to carry hatred with us,” Rahul said.

However, questions have been raised over whether Priyanka was legally justified in making this trip to Vellore prison.

“There is no bar in law and this is a case of ordinary human decency. No law can come in the way of such gestures,” Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde said.

Priyanka has often taken the lead in expressing the emotions of her family. Whether it was Amethi, Rae Bareili or Tamil Nadu, she has been involved in the active disengagement of Rahul and Sonia.

(With inputs from Veeraraghav)

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