Trying to strike an emotional chord with people of Chikkamagaluru district by recalling the association with people of the region, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday said it was now a time of struggle for the family, similar to what her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was going through when she came before them nearly 45 years ago.
Pointing to her brother and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi being disqualified from Parliament in what she described a ”false case similar to what had happened to Indira Gandhi”, she expressed confidence about emerging victorious with the blessings of god and the people as they were fighting for truth.
”I’m coming after offering prayers to Sharada devi (Goddess Sharadamba in Sringeri). There I met Shankaracharya (the present pontiff). He asked me whether Indira Gandhi contested from here or not? I said yes she had contested from Chikkamagaluru. He blessed me. I sought blessings for my brother, he gave the blessings,” Gandhi said after visiting the temple at Sringeri.
Addressing a public meeting organised by the Congress at Balehonnor in the district ahead of May 10 Assembly polls in Karnataka, she said: ”He (seer) told me that my father (late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) too had come here, Indira ji too had come here and when Indira ji had come here, it was a time of struggle for her.” ”Today too, it is a time of struggle for my family. In 1978, when Indiraji came here on this ground, it was a time of struggle for her. On that day too, it was raining like this. I believe that this is the blessing of god, as rain is a good omen. So, this is an emotional moment for me, that I’m standing before you on the same stage, same ground, and in a similar weather,” she added.
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Indira Gandhi had decided to contest the Lok Sabha by-elections from the Chikkamagaluru parliamentary constituency in 1978, a year after she was defeated by Raj Narain of Janata Party from Rae Bareli segment in Uttar Pradesh, following the Emergency period from 1975 to 1977.
Then considered among her loyalists, D B Chandre Gowda (who in later years joined BJP), vacated the seat for her and she defeated former Congress chief minister and Janata Party candidate Veerendra Patil by a margin of more than 77,000 votes.
Stating that she thanks the people ”wholeheartedly” on behalf of three generations of her family, Vadra said when Indira ji was facing her most difficult time of struggle, the people from Chikkamagaluru stood by her and did not leave her company.
”A case was filed against her and she too was removed from the Parliament membership, you (people) got her back into Parliament, you gave her the confidence – that people of the country are still with you – Indira ji, you fight. Today, in a similar way, her grandson Rahul Gandhi has been removed from the Parliament membership in a false case,” she said.
”Rahul Gandhi and my entire family are fully confident that the people of this country will stand with us. The blessings of god, blessings of Shiv ji will always be with us, because we are fighting the battle for truth. This Karnataka election is also a battle for truth,” she added.
Rahul Gandhi was on March 23 sentenced to two years in jail by a court in Gujarat’s Surat in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his ”why all thieves have the Modi surname” remark. A day later, he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction in the case.