Indira Gandhi


Picture of Indira Gandhi

Indira Feroze Gandhi (Hindi: [ˈɪndɪɾɑː ˈɡɑːndʱi] ; née Nehru; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She was India's first and, to date, only female prime minister, and a central figure in Indian politics as the leader of the Indian National Congress. Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, and the mother of Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded her in office as the country's sixth prime minister. Furthermore, Gandhi's cumulative tenure of 15 years and 350 days makes her the second-longest-serving Indian prime minister after her father. Henry Kissinger described her as an "Iron Lady", a nickname that became associated with her tough personality since her lifetime.During Nehru's premiership from 1947 to 1964, Gandhi served as his hostess and accompanied him on his numerous foreign trips. In 1959, she played a part in the dissolution of the communist-led Kerala state government as then-president of the Indian National Congress, otherwise a ceremonial position to which she was elected earlier that year. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had succeeded Nehru as prime minister upon his death in 1964, appointed her minister of information and broadcasting in his government; the same year she was elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. On Shastri's sudden death in January 1966, Gandhi defeated her rival, Morarji Desai, in the Congress Party's parliamentary leadership election to become leader and also succeeded Shastri as prime minister. She led the Congress to victory in two subsequent elections, starting with the 1967 general election, in which she was first elected to the lower house of the Indian parliament, the Lok Sabha. In 1971, the Congress Party headed by Gandhi managed to secure its first landslide victory since her father's sweep in 1962, focusing on issues such as poverty. But following the nationwide Emergency implemented by her, she faced massive anti-incumbency and lost the 1977 general election, the first time for the Congress party to do so. Gandhi was ousted from office and even lost her seat in parliament in the election. Nevertheless, her faction of the Congress Party won the next general election by a landslide, due to Gandhi's leadership and weak governance of the Janata Party rule, the first non-Congress government in independent modern India's history.

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Quotes from Indira Gandhi