While some see him as a role model in Indian politics, there are others who are smitten by the romantic side of him revolving around Sonia. So, here are some interesting and lesser known facts about the charismatic leader and his life:
1. Although he shares his last name with Mahatma Gandhi, they are not related. He was born on August 20, 1944 to Indira and Feroze Gandhi. Feroze was a family friend and Indira Gandhi fell in love with him and decided to marry him despite Nehru's objection. Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the Prime Minister then was under th eimpression that the inter-caste marriage would jeoperdise Indira's chance to win the top position.
2. Rajiv was named after his maternal grandmother-Kamala Nehru's- name. Kamala, in Sanskrit, means goddess Laxmi and Rajiv means lotus, which is used to worship the goddess.
3. Rajiv Gandhi offered flowers at Mahatma Gandhi's feet. To which, he was advised that such offerings are made only when someone is dead. Much to everyone's surprise, Mahatma was killed just a day after on August 21st.
4. Rajiv fell in love with Sonia when he met her for the first time at a Greek restaurant. He wrote a poetry for her on a paper napkin and gave it to the manager to give it to her, along with a bottle of most expensive champaigne. Rajiv married Sonia Maino in 1968. He considered Sonia as the most beautiful woman in the world and was very expressive about his feelings towards her.
5. After returning to India, he joined the Flying Club and got trained as a pilot. He wanted to persue a career in his hobby and joined the Air India as a pilot. Averse to politics, he avoided the profession and was happy with his Rs 5000 salary.
He also liked music and computers. He preferred listening to the Rolling Stones than Beatles.
6. He first entered politics after the demise of his brother Sanjay Gandhi and contested election from his brother's seat-Amethi. He defeated the strongman-Sharad Yadav there. It is heresay that Indira was grooming Rajiv to take the top post so that the family legacy continued.
7. Rajiv Gandhi's managerial skills came to the fore when he was awarded the responsibility of the 1982 Asian Games, along with Sports minister Buta Singh. The vents is still considered one of the most memorable games.
8. Rajiv Gandhi was assigned the post of the Prime Minister the day when Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards, making him the nation's youngest PM.
9. Just 4 earlier to losing his life to a suicide attack, Rajiv Gandhi was fatally attacked in Sri Lanka by one of the guard of honour- Vijayamunige Rohana de Silva. Though Rajiv escaped, Silva was arrested by the CID.