Remembering Rajiv Gandhi on his 23rd death anniversary

rajiv gandhi, ltte, congress, indira gandhi, narendra modi
Bangalore, May 21: Today marks the 23rd death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the sixth prime minister of India, who was assassinated on May 21, 1991 by a LTTE suicide bomber in Sriperumbudu, Tamil Nadu.

And this time, the anniversary coincides with the election victory of Narendra Modi, who will soon take over as the new prime minister of India. Modi and his party, BJP secured a stellar victory winning 284 seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. In 1984, Rajiv achieved a similar feat - He scored a landslide electoral victory winning 404 of Lok Sabha seats.

If anti-incumbency wave and promises of development was what led to Modi's victory, Rajiv's feat was attributed mainly to his youthful charisma, corruption-free image and sympathy wave which arose from the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi.

However, thanks to a number of controversies and corruption allegations, Rajiv was voted out of power in 1989 elections, in which he could win only 197 seats.

Born into the first family of Congress as the son of Indira Gandhi and Feroz Gandhi on 20 August 1944, Rajiv became prime minister after his mother was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984, October 31.He fought his first election from Amethi seat, where he defeated Sharad Yadav.

Historians criticise Rajiv for many reasons, the prominent one being a comment he made during anti-Sikh riot was happening in Delhi. The riot followed the assassination of Indira. Allegedly, when Rajiv was asked to look into the situation, he said," Commenting on the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, Rajiv Gandhi said, "When a giant tree falls, the earth below shakes".

Like his mother, Rajiv played a big role in promoting technology and industries in the country and eradicating rural poverty.

The biggest blot on his rule was Bofors Scandal, which was uncovered by VP Singh, who had served as defense minister and later, finance minister in Rajiv's cabinet. It was a fallout of internal dissent in the cabinet.

Allegedly, the Gandhis received payoffs from a Swedish Bofors arms company through Italian businessman and Gandhi family associate Ottavio Quattrocchi, in return for Indian arms contracts.

After he brought the details of the scandal, involving tens of millions of dollars, VP Singh was dismissed from the cabinet. Singh later went on to lead the campaign against Rajiv that brought down the government in 1989.

What led to his assassination was the personal rivalry between him and the Tamil extremist group LTTE chief Prabhakaran for sending the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka during Eelam war. The IPKF was, allegedly,involved in many heineous crimes against Tamils in the island country.

Oneindia News

Please Wait while comments are loading...