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Indira Gandhi is the 'Most Acceptable' PM Till Date, Says Pranab Mukherjee
File image of President Pranab Mukherjee. (Image: PTI)
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday described Indira Gandhi as the "most acceptable" prime minister of a democratic country till date and recalled the former prime minister's “decisive style of functioning” that helped her party score comeback victories in state elections within a couple of months after the second Congress split of 1978.
Gandhi was one of the most remarkable personalities of the 20th century and to the people of India, she still remains the "most acceptable" prime minister of a democratic country, the President said to wide applause from the audience that comprised a galaxy of top Congress leaders, PTI reported.
With Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi seated on the dais, flanked by Vice President Hamid Ansari and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Mukherjee paid rich tributes to Indira Gandhi on the occasion of the release of a commemorative centennial volume on her life and works.
The book edited by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma is a compilation of life and work of Indira Gandhi and its foreword is written by Sonia Gandhi, who could not attend the function due to her ill health.
Rahul, while quoting the Congress president said, "Indira Gandhi disregarded distinctions of rank, caste and creed. She had no time for snobbishness or ostentatious. She was quick to detect hypocrisy and insincerity. She was a proud Indian, but also a proud citizen of the world with a broad and tolerant outlook."
Recalling the second split in Congress in 1978, President Mukherjee said Indira Gandhi was elected party president on January 2, 1978 and in a matter of few days by January 20 she completed the formation of the working committee, set up the parliamentary board, PCCs and AICC structures and prepared the party to face elections to state assemblies of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, and NEFA.
Soon after that, he said, she led the Congress to a decisive victory by two-thirds majority in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and went on to make her party the single-largest in Maharashtra where it formed the government along with the breakaway faction of the Congress.
Mukherjee said by the difference between January 2 and March 6, one can understand how quickly she had to take decisions and how decisively and determinately she took those decisions.
The President also laid special emphasis on her decision to cleanse Golden Temple of militants, which he termed as the "most dangerous". "As a student of history I was afraid to do anything with the Golden Temple. And as member of the then CCPA I told at the meeting that perhaps the most dangerous decisions we are taking," he said, referring to Operation Bluestar in 1984.
"Sometimes history demands some action which may not prove correct later on, but perhaps is most relevant at that time. This decision cannot be avoided." he said.
(With PTI inputs)
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