Kolkata, Feb 1: Although she felt “betrayed” by the Congress leadership many a time, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee describes the late Rajiv Gandhi as “the leader of our hearts” and Pranab Mukherjee as her brother.
Recalling her days in the Congress when she was attacked by alleged CPI(M) activists at a rally in 1991 in Kolkata, she says, “Rajiv ji, the leader of our hearts, took up the responsibility of paying for my treatment. He sent people to ask if I wanted to go to the US for further treatment”.
Even as Banerjee's current relationship with allyCongress has turned sour, she treats Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as her elder brother.
“I have always respected him and my relationship with him is that of an elder brother and his kid sister,” she says recalling that when Mukherjee was once sacked by the party and formed the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress in 1986, she had repeatedly requested Gandhi to take him back into the party fold.
In her autobiographical account in the recently published book ‘My Unforgettable Memories', she says that on hearing the news of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991 she was so shattered that she could neither eat nor speak to anybody for a week after that.
“I was orphaned all over again, for the second time in my life since my father's death.....I used to shut myself in the room and cry”.