Rajiv Gandhi

Topics: Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Indian National Congress Pages: 2 (416 words) Published: September 16, 2008
Rajiv Gandhi राजीव गांधी (IPA: [raːdʒiːv gaːnd̪ʰiː]), born in Bombay, (August 20, 1944 – May 21, 1991), the elder son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi, was the 9th Prime Minister of India (and the third from the Nehru-Gandhi family) from his mother's death on 31 October 1984 until his resignation on December 2, 1989 following a general election defeat. He was the youngest Prime Minister of India (at the age of 40).

Rajiv Gandhi was a professional Pilot for Indian Airlines (now Air India) before entering politics. While at Cambridge, he met Italian-born Sonia Maino whom he later married. He remained aloof from politics despite his mother being the Indian Prime Minister, and it was only following the death of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi in 1980 that Rajiv entered politics. After the assassination of his mother in 1984 after Operation Blue Star, Indian National Congress party leaders elected him Prime Minister.

Rajiv Gandhi led the Congress to a major election victory in 1984 soon after, amassing the largest majority ever in Indian Parliament. The Congress party won 411 seats out of 542. He began dismantling the License Raj - government quotas, tariffs and permit regulations on economic activity - modernized the telecommunications industry, the education system, expanded science and technology initiatives and improved relations with the United States.

In 1988, Rajiv reversed the coup in Maldives antagonising the militant Tamil outfits such as PLO. He also was responsible for sending Indian troops (Indian Peace Keeping Force or IPKF) for peace efforts in Sri Lanka, which soon ended in open conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group. In mid-1987, the Bofors scandal broke his honest, corruption-free image and resulted in a major defeat for his party in the 1989 elections.

Rajiv Gandhi remained Congress President until the elections in 1991. While campaigning, he was assassinated by a female LTTE suicide bomber Thenmuli Rajaratnam. His...
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