New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Sonia Gandhi on Saturday got emotional as she recollected the sacrifices made by her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi and husband Rajiv Gandhi for the country and said she decided to join politics when she felt "Congress was facing a crisis and communal forces were gaining strength".
"Indiraji (Indira Gandhi) accepted me as a daughter and from her I learned about the culture of this country, about those principles on which this nation was founded," said Gandhi after handing over the charge of party president to her son Rahul Gandhi.
"In 1984, when she was assassinated, I felt as if I had lost my own mother. That catastrophe changed forever the course of my life. I had a different view of politics at that time and I had wanted to keep my husband and children as far away from it as possible," added Sonia.
"...But a heavy responsibility fell on his shoulders (Rajiv Gandhi) and despite my pleas, Rajiv ji accepted as a duty the post of Prime Minister."
Sonia added: "He worked hard day and night to fulfill this responsibility. With him I travelled to remote corners of the country, came to understand something of our people's problems and the challenges facing our country.
"Then, just seven years after the death of Indiraji, my husband too was assassinated. I lost my anchor and my support," she said, in a voice full of emotion.
Sonia said it took several years for her to recover from it. "It was many years later that I could emerge from my shell," she said.
"Only when I came to feel that the Congress was facing a crisis, and that communal forces were gaining strength, did I feel compelled to respond to the call of the party workers," she added.
She said: "I felt that my turning away from this summons would negate the sacrifice of my mother-in-law's life and my husband's life. So I entered politics -- to fulfill a duty to my family, party and country."