I was here to collect my father’s shattered body: Priyanka Gandhi speaks of first visit to Tamil Nadu in touching speech

Chennai: Vadra demands immediate implementation of Women’s Reservation Bill

BY | Saturday, 14 October, 2023

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra delivered a touching speech at the Women’s Rights Conference in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on Saturday as she spoke of her first visit to the south Indian state.

“32 years ago, I first set foot in Tamil Nadu on the darkest night of my life. I was here to collect my father’s shattered body,” she said, adding that she was just 19 years old. The then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on 21 May 1991 at Sriperumbudur, a village near Chennai.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra continued, “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 that I could have imagined had already happened.

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

We walked down the stairs of the plane on the tarmac of the Meenambaakam 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.

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.

In those shared tears, a bond formed between me, between my heart and the women of Tamil Nadu, that I can neither explain, nor ever erase.”

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Also during her speech, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded that the Women’s Reservation Bill be implemented immediately. She asserted, “I demand the immediate implementation of the women’s reservation bill. We, the women of India have no more time to waste. It is our right to be counted in the political process.

I demand that our worth is valued and respected as a political instrument for our own empowerment.

I demand that we put an end to the glorification of our tolerance for injustices committed against us day after day, after day.

I demand the rejection of any system: societal, religious or political, which thrives on our oppression and forces us to collude with it.

Every woman holds the right to express and embody her own power and she should be free to exercise it.”

Earlier, CPP President Sonia Gandhi too in her address said that the Women’s Reservation Bill has finally been passed due to women’s relentless persistence and efforts but it is still a long wait, as the government indicates no timeline.

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