New Delhi, Oct 21: Indira Gandhi spoke of her granddaughter Priyanka as her virtual political heir shortly before her death, predicting that "she will shine and the next century will be hers".
This has been revealed in the book "The Chinar Leaves" by veteran Congress leader M L Fotedar, to whom Indira Gandhi during her visit to Srinagar in October 1984 had shared her premonition that she may not live long and clearly mentioned her preference to have Priyanka groomed to assume reins of the party.
Fotedar, a senior member of the Congress Working Committee, also recalls in his account of Congress history that while former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had reacted happily when told of Indira's desires about Priyanka, Sonia Gandhi has not taken kindly to what the messenger had to say.
He adds that while Rajiv Gandhi had responded with happiness when he brought Indira's desires about Priyanka to his notice, Sonia had responded in quite the opposite manner.
The book also claims that Sonia was miffed at Fotedar when he told her about Indira's will and left the room in a huff as she was taken aback with her mother-in-law's views.
This, the author says, happened when he went to meet Sonia who had sought his counsel on fielding son Rahul into politics with a ticket in Amethi.
Fotedar's about-to-be-released book documents facts about a will Indira Gandhi dictated to him two days before she died.
"I may not live long. But you must watch over her Priyanka as she grows," Fotedar quotes Indira as telling her a few days before her death, where she shared with him how clearly she foresaw the glorious future of Priyanka.
She also told her, "You will live to see her grow and shine on the national horizon. People will see me in her and remember me when they see her. She will shine and the next century will be hers. Then people will forget me."