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Sunita Williams' Gujarat connection

Sunita Williams
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India-born US astronaut Sunita Williams, who made history for the longest stay in space for a woman, was recently in Delhi. Sunita Williams nee Pandya...

India-born US astronaut Sunita Williams, who made history for the longest stay in space for a woman, was recently in Delhi. Sunita Williams nee Pandya has Gujarat connection, as she is related to Haren Pandya, the former Gujarat Home Minister, who fell out from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and later he was shot dead. At a time when Modi was on a political high, tom-tomming his prime ministerial ambitions, Sunita Williams quietly visited her native village in Jhulasan in Mehsana district, creating quite a stir. Among those to greet Sunita Williams was Jagruti Pan- dya, widow of slain Haren Pandya, who contested against Narendra Modi in recent polls. A first cousin of the slain leader, Sunita Williams is said to have cried a lot when she heard of Haren Pandya's death. At National Science Centre (NSC) in the capital, reminiscing her space voyage, she said, "When I went to space, I was very nervous. It's a hugely complicated process. But it is something I wanted to do. I have been in space. So I have pretty much seen the whole of India." This was reflective of what Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma told the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, when asked how India appeared from space: "saare jahaan se achcha." She will be working in Russia for about a year now with the next group of astronauts, who will go to space.
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