Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said his sister Priyanka Gandhi and he have “completely forgiven” their father’s killers. “We were very upset and hurt and for many years we were quite angry,” Gandhi said during an interaction in Singapore. “But, somehow, completely…in fact, completely [forgiven].”
Gandhi, who is on a five-day trip to southeast Asian nations, said the family “knew that my father was going to die”. “We knew that my grandmother was going to die,” he added. “In politics, when you mess with the wrong forces, and if you stand for something, you will die. That’s pretty clear.”
Gandhi added that he remembered feeling bad for the children of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader V Prabhakaran after his death. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in a suicide bombing carried out by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu’s Sriperumbudur in May 1991.
“I remember when I saw Mr Prabhakaran on TV lying dead, I got two feelings – one was why [are] they humiliating this man in this way,” Gandhi said. “And second was, I felt really bad for him and his kids because I understood deeply what it meant to be on the other side of that thing.”
He added that though there were a number of privileges growing up as the children and grandchildren of former prime ministers, “I would not say that I haven’t been through a rough ride”. Observing that he was 14 when his grandmother was assassinated, he said, “I used to play badminton with those who killed my grandmother. After that my father was killed.”
‘Lost 2014 because of infighting’
In another interaction with the Indian diaspora in Malaysia, Gandhi criticised the internal bickering within the Congress and blamed it as one of the reasons for the party’s defeat in the 2014 general elections, IANS reported. Several “issues of corruption” were also responsible, he said.
“Internal fight in the party, a generational fight, an older vision, a newer vision...those just collided,” he said, and added that the party believed in zero tolerance for corruption. “We fired the guys in pretty much every single case.”
However, he pointed out that the Congress party is an ideology and that it must “stand up for certain ideals”. He said: “When you move away from the ideology, the party weakens. People get confused if we don’t stand by these ideals. We have to place an alternative vision.”
He also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party for not listening to Opposition parties on important matters such as demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax. “They don’t believe in taking along everyone,” he said.