Indira Gandhi Becomes Prime Minister - History

Indira Gandhi Becomes Prime Minister - History

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On January 19th, 1966 Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister of India. She was the third Prime Minister of India and the first woman.

Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Nehru the first Prime Minister of India. She served as her father's personal assistant. When first elected she was considered a pawn of the Congress Party. However, she remained Prime Minister in her first term until March 1977 during which time she dominated the party. She returned to be Prime Minister after the election of 1980. She served as Prime Minister until she was assassinated on October 31, 1984.

The prime minister of India is assassinated

Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of India, is assassinated in New Delhi by two of her own bodyguards. Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, both Sikhs, emptied their guns into Gandhi as she walked to her office from an adjoining bungalow. Although the two assailants immediately surrendered, they were both shot in a subsequent scuffle, and Beant died. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, attempted to forge a unified nation out of the many religious, ethnic, and cultural factions that existed under British rule until 1949. His daughter, Indira Gandhi (no relation to Mohandas Gandhi), rose to power in 1966, fighting many of the same problems as her father had. Her own political career was a roller coaster, from the highs following India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 to the lows of being thrown out of office in 1977 after declaring a state of emergency in 1975, during which time she suspended civil liberties and jailed her political opponents. Although many criticized her for being authoritarian, the majority of the population supported her because of her extensive social programs.

In 1980, Gandhi became prime minister again, enjoying fairly widespread popularity. However, in June 1984, she ordered an army raid on a Sikh temple in Punjab to flush out armed Sikh extremists, setting off a series of death threats. Due to the fear of assassination, Beant Singh, her longtime bodyguard, was to be transferred because he was a Sikh. However, Gandhi personally rescinded the transfer order because she trusted him after his many years of service. Obviously, this was a fatal mistake for both of them.

This Week in History from FPJ Archives: Change of leadership - from Indira Gandhi to Barack Obama

Joe Biden will take oath as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday - the latest in a long line of leaders to be sworn in around the same time, albeit in different years. Since the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 20 has been earmarked as the day of the United States presidential inauguration - unless it was a Sunday. But a quick look through the history books reveal that it is not just the US that made administrative changes around this time.

This article looks at two people who made history even as they assumed the responsibility of leading their country. More specifically, we looked at various historical events that have taken place between January 18 and January 24 in different years - pulling out two instances from different countries, nearly 50 years apart. Take a look at how The Free Press Journal covered the appointment of Barack Obama (the first African-American US President) in 2009 and the election of Indira Gandhi (the first woman to become Prime Minister of India) in 1966.

Indira Gandhi becomes Prime Minister of India

On January 19, 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected leader of the Congress party in Parliament, defeating Morarji Desai by an "overwhelming majority of 186 votes in the historic contest for the leadership of the nation". Not only the first woman to assume the post of PM, at 49, she was also India's youngest Prime Minister.

"Indira Gandhi elected leader. First woman to be India's PM. Morarji loses by big margin," read The Free Press Journal's front page headlines on January 20.


  • During the 1971 war against Pakistan, foreign-owned private oil companies had refused to supply fuel to the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. In response, Gandhi nationalised oil companies in 1973. After nationalisation the oil majors such as the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) had to keep a minimum stock level of oil, to be supplied to the military when needed.
  • In 1974 and 1976, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi nationalised ESSO and Burma Shell (Caltex and IBP were also nationalised). She formed the Oil Coordination Committee to ensure a steady oil supply and to keep prices stable. She also introduced the ‘Administered Pricing Mechanism’ to set the prices of petroleum products.

January 19, 1966 – Indira Gandhi becomes Indian prime minister

Following the death of Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi becomes head of the Congress Party and thus prime minister of India.

She was India’s first female head of government and by the time of her assassination in 1984 was one of its most controversial.

Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of the independent Republic of India.

She became a national political figure in 1955, when she was elected to the executive body of the Congress Party.

In 1959, she served as president of the party and in 1964 was appointed to an important post in Lal Bahadur Shastri’s ruling government.

Soon after becoming prime minister, Gandhi was challenged by the right wing of the Congress Party, and in the 1967 election she won only a narrow victory and thus had to rule with a deputy prime minister.

In 1971, she won a resounding reelection victory over the opposition and became the undisputed leader of India.

That year, she ordered India’s invasion of Pakistan in support of the creation of Bangladesh, which won her greater popularity and led her New Congress Party to a landslide victory in national elections in 1972.

During the next few years, she presided over increasing civil unrest brought on by food shortages, inflation, and regional disputes.

Her administration was criticized for its strong-arm tactics in dealing with these problems.

Meanwhile, charges by the Socialist Party that she had defrauded the 1971 election led to a national scandal. In 1975, the High Court in Allahabad convicted her of a minor election infraction and banned her from politics for six years.

In response, she declared a state of emergency throughout India, imprisoned thousands of political opponents, and restricted personal freedoms in the country. Among several unpopular programs during this period was the forced sterilization of men and women as a means of controlling population growth.

In 1977, long-postponed national elections were held, and Gandhi and her party were swept from office. The next year, Gandhi’s supporters broke from the Congress Party and formed the Congress (I) Party, with the “I” standing for “Indira.”

Later in 1978, she was briefly imprisoned for official corruption. Soon after the ruling Janata Party fell apart, the Congress (I) Party, with Indira as its head, won a spectacular election victory in 1980, and Gandhi was again prime minister.

In the early 1980s, several regional states intensified their call for greater autonomy from New Delhi, and the Sikh secessionist movement in Punjab resorted to violence and terrorism. In 1984, the Sikh leaders set up base in their sacred Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Gandhi responded by sending the Indian army in, and hundreds of Sikhs were killed in the government assault. In retaliation, Sikh members of Gandhi’s own bodyguard gunned her down on the grounds of her home on October 31, 1984. She was succeeded by her son, Rajiv Gandhi.

Political Rise

Gandhi joined the Congress Party&aposs working committee in 1955, and four years later she was elected the party&aposs president. Following the death of her father in 1964, she was appointed to Rajya Sabha, the upper level of Indian parliament, and was named minister of information and broadcasting. When her father’s successor, Lal Bahadur Shastri, died abruptly in 1966, she ascended to the post of prime minister.

Seemingly on shaky ground following the Congress Party&aposs narrow win in the 1967 election, Gandhi surprised her father’s old colleagues with her resilience. In 1969, after she acted unilaterally to nationalize the country&aposs banks, Congress Party elders sought to oust her from her role. Instead, Gandhi rallied a new faction of the party with her populist stance, and cemented her hold on power with a decisive parliamentary victory in 1971. 

INDIRA GANDHI : The story of India’s first woman Prime Minister.

On 10 January 1966, after the shocking and mysterious death of the Prime Minister of India, Mr Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Congress faced the challenge of political succession for the second time in two years. This time there was an intense competition between Morarji Desai and Indira Gandhi. Morarji Desai had earlier served as the Chief Minister of Bombay (today’s Maharashtra and Gujarat) also as a minister at the centre. Indira Gandhi, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, had been Congress President in the past and had also been Union Minister for information in the Shastri cabinet. This time the senior leaders in the party decided to back Indira Gandhi, but the decision was not unanimous. The contest was resolved through a secret ballot among Congress MPs. Indira Gandhi defeated Morarji Desai by securing the support of more than two-thirds of the party’s MPs. A peaceful transition of power, despite intense competition for leadership, was seen as a sign of maturity of India’s democracy. It took some time before the new Prime Minister could settle down. While Indira Gandhi had been politically active for very long, she had served as a minister under Shastri only for a short period of time. She faced much difficulties but managed to gain control over the party and to demonstrate her skills. She became the Prime Minister in 1967. She ruled the country from 1967-71. Then came her second tenure.

Economic context:

In the elections of 1971, Congress had given the slogan of garibi hatao (remove poverty). However, the social and economic condition in the country did not improve much after 1971-72. The Bangladesh crisis had put a heavy strain on India’s economy. About eight million people crossed over the East Pakistan (today’s Bangladesh) border into India. This was followed by war with Pakistan. After the war, the US government stopped all aid to India. In the international market’ oil prices increased manifold during this period. This led to an over-all increase in prices of commodities. Prices increased by 23 percentage in 1973and 30 percentage in 1974. Such a high level inflation caused much hardship to the people. Industrial growth was low and unemployment was very high, particularly in the rural areas. In order to reduce expenditure, the government froze the salaries of its employees.

Gujarat and Bihar movements:

Student’s protest in Gujarat and Bihar, both of which were Congress ruled states, had far reaching impact on the politics of the two states and the national politics. In January 1974, students in Gujarat started an agitation against rising prices of food grains, cooking oil and other essential commodities, and against corruption in high places. The student’s protest was joined by major opposition parties and became widespread leading to the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The opposition parties demanded fresh elections to the state legislature. Morarji Desai, a prominent leader of Congress(O), who was the main rival of Indira Gandhi when he was in the Congress, announced that he would go on an indefinite fast if fresh elections were not held in the state. Under intense pressure from the students, supported by opposition parties, assembly election were held in Gujarat in June 1975. The Congress was defeated in this election.

In March 1974, students came together in Bihar to protest against rising prices, food scarcity, unemployment and corruption. After a point, they invited Jayaprakash Narayan, who had given up active politics and was involved in social work, to lead the student movement. He accepted it on the condition that the movement will remain non-violent and will not limit itself to Bihar. Thus the student’s movement assumed a political character and had national appeal. People from all walks of life now entered the movement. Jayaprakash Narayan demanded the dismissal of the Congress government in Bihar and gave a call for total revolution in the social, economic and political spheres in order to establish what he considered to be true democracy. A series of bandhs, gehraos and strikes were organised in the protest against the Bihar government. The government however refused to resign.

Indira Gandhi’s conflict with judiciary:

This was also the period when the government and the ruling party had many differences with the judiciary. The court said that the parliament cannot amend the Constitution in such a way that the rights are curtailed. The parliament amended the Constitution saying that it can abridge fundamental rights for giving effect to the Directive Principles. But the Supreme Court rejected this provision also. This led to a crisis as far as the relations between the government and the judiciary were concerned. In this case, the court gave a decision that there are some basic features of the Constitution and the Parliament cannot amend these features.

Declaration of Emergency:

On 12 June 1975, Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha o the Allahabad High Court passed a judgement declaring Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha invalid. This order came on an election petition filed by Raj Narain, a socialist leader and a candidate who had contested against her 1972. The petition, challenged the election of Indira Gandhi on the ground that she had used the services of government servants in her election campaign. The judgement of the High Court meant that legally she was no more an MP and therefore, could not remain the Prime Minister unless she was once again elected as an MP within six months. On June 24, the Supreme Court granted her a partial stay on the High Court order till her appeal was decided, she could remain an MP but could not take part in the proceedings of the Lok Sabha. The stage was now set to a big political confrontation.

On the night of 25 June 1975, the Prime Minister recommended the imposition of Emergency to President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. He issued the proclamation immediately. After midnight, the electricity to all major newspaper offices was disconnected. In the early morning, a large number of leaders and workers of the opposition parties were arrested. The cabinet was informed about it at a special meeting at 6 a.m. on 26 June, after all this bad taken place.

Consequences of the Emergency:

The actual implementation of the Emergency is another contentious issue. The government said that it wanted to use the Emergency to bring law and order, restore efficiency and implement the pro-poor welfare programmes. The government led by Indira Gandhi announced a twenty-point programme and declared its determination to implement this programme. The twenty-point programme included land reforms, land redistribution, review of agricultural wages, worker’s participation in management, eradication of bonded labour, etc. In the initial months after the declaration of Emergency, the urban middle classes were generally happy over the fact that agitations came to an end and discipline was enforced on the government employees. The poor and rural people also expected effective implementation of the welfare programmes that the government was promising. Thus, different sections of the society had different expectations from the emergency and also different viewpoints about it.

The Emergency at once brought out both the weakness and the strengths of India’s democracy. Though there are many observers who think that India ceased to be democratic during the Emergency, it is noteworthy that normal democratic during the Emergency, a short span of time. Thus, one lesson of Emergency is that it is extremely difficult to do away with democracy in India. The Emergency lasted for two years, 1975-77.

Indira Gandhi Becomes Prime Minister - History

H er road to power and politics

Started when she turned twelve years of age.T ime of British imperialism,Indian National Congress from Allahabadnot know when or if the British would search their homes. some asserted that the Monkey Brigade was the idea of the Congress. In any event, Indira became the leader of this children's group whose purpose was to help end British control in India. One of the most significant actions of the Monkey Brigade involved Indira. The Congress party's top officials were organizing a civil disobedience movement After meeting, the documents containing the plans of movement were placed in trunk of car with Indira in the back seat. a police inspector stopped the car to search it. However, Indira pleaded him not to inspect the car because the delay would cause her to arrive late at school. Fortunately, the inspector believed her and car was not searched.

In 1938, Indira finally joined the Indian National Congress Party ,

something she always longed to do. Soon afterwards in 1942, she married journalist Feroze Gandhi to whom she eventually bore two sons. Soon after the couple was married, they were sent to prison on charges of subversion by the British. Her first and only imprisonment lasted from September 11, 1942 until May 13, 1943 at the Naini Central Jail in Allahabad. Fortunately, India won its independence from Britain in 1947. In that same year, Indira's father Jawaharlal Nehru became prime minister. Since her mother had died in 1936, Later in 1959, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri appointed Indira Gandhi as minister of information and broadcasting. This position was the fourth highest ranking position in the Cabinet As minister, she most importantly encouraged the making of inexpensive radios and started a family planning program.

Indira joined Congress in 1938

She was imprisoned for 13 months in 1942 by the British. In that year she married Feroze Gandhi, a journalist they had two sons, Rajiv and Sanjay. Indira, however, remained with her father, who became Prime Minister after independence, and acted as his hostess and close supporter from 1947 to 1964. Under Gandhi's instructions she worked in the riot-affected areas of Delhi in 1947. Associated with numerous organizations, she was Chairman of the Central Social Welfare Board (1953-7), member of the Working Committee and Central Election Committee from 1955 and the Central Parliamentary Board from 1956, and President of the All India Youth Congress from 1956 to 1960. On Nehru's death in 1964 she was elected to Parliament in his place. After acting as Minister of Information and Broadcasting (1964-6), Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister on the death of Lal Shastri in 1966, having toured India, drawing enormous crowds in her campaign, . In 1971 he called a general election to seek public support and won by an enormous margin.

How Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister: Prelude to the Congress Split

On the grey winter afternoon of 11 January 1966, a huge crowd of Indian Government officials, politicians, military officers, heads of states of other nations and common public thronged the Palam Airport in New Delhi. They were awaiting a small Soviet aircraft bringing in the dead body of India’s second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. India had woken up to Shastri’s sudden death in Tashkent, Uzbekistan only hours ago. A sense of uncertainty over India’s political future surrounded the airport thicker than the Delhi fog. Many had come to the airport to mourn Shastri’s death, many for appearance sake. But at least one person was there for a clearer purpose. Clad in white khadi, was an astrologer, much consulted by top-level Congress politicians. He was there to predict who will be the next Prime Minister.

Unlike with Nehru, no one had anticipated Shastri’s death and there had been no discussion over the issue of his succession. Only two hours after his death, the President had sworn in the home minister, Gulzari Lal Nanda as the acting Prime Minister in the middle of night. But Nanda was considered a light-weight, unlikely to be able to turn his job permanent. Nevertheless, within twenty-four hours he threw his hat in the ring to be considered as the next Prime Minister. So did many others. Within two days of Shastri’s death, the list of politicians circling around the throne had grown considerably, including the defence minister YB Chavan, Mahashtrian politician SK Patil and the future President of India Sanjiva Reddy. But the strongest candidate was Morarji Desai.

Desai had already had already had bitter experience in his ambition to be India’s Prime Minister. In early 1960s, Desai was a centre of power within the Congress Party. A right-leaning, pro-business conservative leader, he had emerged as the opposing pole within the party to left-leaning, liberal Nehru. As the finance minister in Nehru’s Government, he had become so influential as to be considered by many as his natural successor, to the extent that in some of his foreign visits he got the treatment reserved for visiting heads of state. Had Nehru not eased him out of the Cabinet in 1963, he would have most likely become the next Prime Minister automatically. Instead, in 1964, when Nehru passed away, it was the unimpressive Shastri who got the chair, a shy, placating man who was so unimposing that his greatest achievement at the time seemed to be that he had “hardly ever made an enemy during his entire career”.

The architects for this upset had been a group of party insiders called the Syndicate. The Syndicate had emerged as a loose alliance of six or seven senior politicians in the months preceding Nehru’s death. These were leaders who weren’t part of the Cabinet, but managed the Congress party instead – the power brokers in Delhi. The Syndicate was led by a Tamil leader named K Kamaraj, who at the time was almost the kingmaker of India, the power behind the throne.

While the members of the Syndicate shared many ideological stands, the greatest uniting factor for them seemed to be their mutual dislike for Morarji Desai. They did not disagree with Desai ideologically in fact, the Syndicate was also conservative, pro-business and anti-socialism. Rather their concern appeared to be that Desai was too large a political entity and too independent to be tamed by the Syndicate. Many Syndicate members also had old feuds with Desai which contributed their distrust of the man. Accordingly, after Nehru’s death in 1964 the Syndicate had rallied their support against Desai’s candidacy and had instead propped up Shastri as the Prime Minister.

Nineteen months later, the Syndicate and Desai found themselves locked in the same struggle once again. But the dynamics was slightly different this time around. During his tenure, Shastri had confounded the expectation by growing into a strong, independent leader, weakening the Syndicate’s unspoken claim that they were the sole puppet masters in New Delhi. In 1965, there had been language riots in Madras, Kamaraj’s own backyard, politically weakening him significantly. The next general elections were right around the corner, and they needed a Prime Minister who could win them for the Congress. But most importantly, the Syndicate no longer had a viable candidate like Shastri to challenge Desai’s stature.

At first, the Syndicate tried to rally their support behind Kamaraj himself, but this was quickly abandoned when Kamaraj refused to be nominated saying he wasn’t someone the country to unite behind. “No English, no Hindi. How?” Instead, Kamaraj began considering another candidate – the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru.

In the last two years, Indira Gandhi’s political career had been in limbo. Although, she was one of the most recognized figures in Indian politics, had international recognition and had a secular image capable of catching minority votes, these strengths had played against her when Shastri had become the Prime Minister. While Shastri had recognized that he needed Mrs. Gandhi’s support, he didn’t want to give her too much impetus to grow into a challenger to his own position. Shastri had given her place in his cabinet as Information and Broadcasting Minister, but kept her at an arm’s length. Over 1964-65, the divisions between the two had grown and most likely Shastri was considering pushing her out of the Cabinet before he unexpectedly died. Even Mrs. Gandhi, disgruntled with her stalled career, was contemplating to leave New Delhi and move to England for a few years.

A rare photograph of Gandhi, Kamaraj and Desai together

This equation changed at one in the morning on 11 January 1966, when she was woken up by a phone call informing her of Shastri’s death. She immediately began seeking advice from her friends about her possible candidacy as his successor. In a couple of days she had made up her mind. Privately, she was willing to throw her hat in the ring. Officially, she maintained that she will consider the position if Congress leaders asked her to.

And the leaders did – rather, Kamaraj did. He correctly judged her to be the only possible challenger to Desai. She had the respect within the party, legacy of Nehru and name recognition that no one else did. More importantly, she was not too strong, and would need Syndicate’s support to run the country. Some Gandhi supporters have accused Kamaraj of underestimating her because she was a woman, but it is unlikely, for she had outshone many men in politics during her career already. It was more likely that Kamaraj calculated that she could be controlled through Congress committees and institutions, all of which the Syndicate dominated.

Whatever may be the reason, Kamaraj was convinced that the Syndicate could control Indira Gandhi, and continue their roles as the power behind the throne. Kamaraj mobilized his considerable influence and got her endorsements from most of the state Chief Ministers and eventually all the members of the Syndicate. With such strong support behind her, Mrs. Gandhi became strong enough to challenge Desai.

With the prize twice snatched from under his nose, Desai was adamant to see this struggle through. He demanded an open election within the Congress of all of the party’s MPs. Syndicate members mobilized their home states, delivering Mrs. Gandhi support from the southern states, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Desai could only carry his home state of Gujarat and the small factions from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Finally tally had Mrs. Gandhi leading with 355 votes to Desai’s 169.

India had a new Prime Minister. Desai had once again been thwarted in his ambition, something he will be able to realise only ten years later and then too for just twenty-six months. The Syndicate had got what they wanted, a pliable young woman, who they can control from behind the curtains. In the first few months, Mrs. Gandhi played their game, often accused of being nothing but an empty chair or famously “maum ki gudiya” (doll of wax). The understanding within the party was that her tenure was an interim arrangement, only to fill the gap until the 1967 elections.

The Syndicate, Congress Party, the media and the opposition – all proved to be wrong. Mrs. Gandhi soon set herself on a collision course with the Syndicate, a struggle that will turn into a full-blown battle for the soul of the Congress Party and India. At the height of crisis, the old kingmaker will find himself allied with his bitter enemy – Morarji Desai – fighting against the ever-growing political power of Mrs. Gandhi. For the first twenty years of India’s existence, political differences had been settled in the backrooms of Congress offices. Now they will be settled in the streets by the public.

The build up to the Congress Split had begun.

Sources: Desai, Morarji. The Story of My Life, McMillan India, 1974 Frank, Katherine. Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi, Harper Collins, 2010 Frankel, Francine R. India’s political economy, 1947-2004: the gradual revolution. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005 Ghosh, Atulya. The Split in Indian National Congress. Jayanti, 1970 Kochanek, Stanley A. The Congress Party of India: The dynamics of one-party democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968

Three mistakes of Indira Gandhi’s Life

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi India’s 3 rd and only lady Prime minister in history. She had many marvelous achievements on her name which will never be forgotten in the history, like India’s first nuclear test and also for some work, never done by any leader in the world like in December 1971 changing the world map with India’s decisive victory over Pakistan in the liberation war, that led to the formation of independent Bangladesh. But there are some marvelous blunders also done by the same Indira Gandhi. Here I mention 3 mistakes done by her which can also not be easily forgotten by the nation and on which the question should be raised.

  • The first mistake – In 1971 she had the great opportunity to resolve the Kashmir problem once for all, not only the Kashmir problem but also the terrorism issue. Pakistan would have not become a terrorist state creating problems for India. In 1971 India had 93000 POW (Prisoners of war) which Indira Gandhi gave them for free along with the land captured by the Indian force. She could have put many sanctions on Pakistan like limiting the number of Army personnel in the area, taking back POK never interfering in Kashmir valley and many more just like the USA did to Germany after the first world war in 1918 in the treaty of Versailles. Beside this the Balochistani should not be oppressed by the Pakistani army. these are the same troops which were held POW in Bangladesh and after 1972 deployed in the Balochistan. This raises some serious questions on her geopolitics knowledge and strategies.
  • Second mistake – Emergency – in 1975 she tried to control the judiciary system just because in an election petition filed by her opponent, Raj Narain in 1971 (who later defeated her in 1977 parliamentary election from Raebareli), alleged several major as well as minor instances of using government resources for campaigning. On 12 June 1975, the Allahabad High Court declared Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha in 1971 void on grounds of electoral malpractice. Many historians believe this being the one of the main reasons behind the emergency declared by her on 25 June 1975. During Emergency Police were granted powers to impose curfews and indefinitely detain citizens. All publications were subjected to substantial censorship by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This shows her hunger for power that she didn’t want to lose the PM chair and power at any costs.
  • Third mistake – the rise of Bhindranwale – in late 1970 Indira Gandhi supported the Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in a bid to split the Sikh votes and weaken the Akali dal its chief rival in Punjab. Bhindranwale was originally not very influential, but the activities of Congress elevated him to the status of a major leader by the early 1980s. Bhindranwale was responsible for the launching the Sikh militancy during the 1980s. Since the early 1980s, Bhindranwale was supported by Pakistan’s ISI on his radical separatist stand, plans and operations and this rise of Bhindranwale which was ended up with operation blue star and which also became the reason of the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Had Indira Gandhi not made these 3 mistakes, the nation would have remembered her as a different leader. But now whenever someone says her iron lady, such questions start boggling into the minds of countrymen.

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