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Indira Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (19 November 1917 - October 31, 1984) She was the Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She was India's first and to date only female prime minister.

Born in the politically influential Nehru dynasty, she grew up in an intensely political atmosphere. Her grandfather Motilal Nehru was a prominent Indian nationalist leader. Returning to India from Oxford in 1941, she became involved in the Indian Independence movement.

In the 1950s, she served her father unofficially as a personal assistant during his tenure as India's first Prime Minister. After her father's death in 1964, she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha by the President of India and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting

Chosen to become Prime Minister by Congress Party insiders after Shastri's death, Gandhi soon showed an ability to win elections and outmanoeuvre opponents through populism. She introduced more left-wing economic policies and promoted agricultural productivity. A crushing victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan was followed by a period of instability that led her to impose a state of Emergency in 1975; she paid for the authoritarian excesses of the period with three years in opposition.

Returned to office in 1980, she became increasingly involved in an escalating conflict with separatists in Punjab that eventually led to her assassination by her own bodyguards in 1984.

Nehru-Gandhi family

Feroz Shah,her husband was not originally liked and accepted by the nehru family as he belonged to a completely different community of Parsis,after repeated attempts when Indira still insisted on marrying him,he was adopted by Mahatma Gandhi so that he could be approved by indira's family as his son.He became his son and got the name Feroz Shah Gandhi.It is this way Indira Gandhi has got the surname Gandhi and is said to be indirectly the daughter in law of Mahatma Gandhi

Main article: Nehru-Gandhi Family
Initially Sanjay had been her chosen heir; but after his death in a flying accident, his mother persuaded a reluctant Rajiv Gandhi to quit his job as a pilot and enter politics in February 1981.

It is during this period that Rajiv Gandhi started influencing decisions in the government. In particular, a large number of contracts after 1980 were awarded to Snamprogetti, often violating tender rules and over the objection of senior administrators. This is widely perceived to have been at the instance of Ottavio Quattrocchi, an Italian businessman whose family was close to Rajiv's Italian born wife Sonia Gandhi. Quattrocchi would later be involved in the Bofors Scandal which was politically devastating for Rajiv Gandhi.

After Indira Gandhi's death, Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister. In May 1991, he too was assassinated, this time at the hands of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam militants. Rajiv's widow, Sonia Gandhi, led the United Progressive Alliance to a surprise electoral victory in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

Sonia Gandhi declined the opportunity to assume the office of Prime Minister but remains in control of the Congress' political apparatus; Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, formerly finance minister, now heads the nation. Rajiv's children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, have also entered politics. Sanjay Gandhi's widow, Maneka Gandhi - who fell out with Indira after Sanjay's death and was famously thrown out of the Prime Minister's house - as well as Sanjay's son, Varun Gandhi, are active in politics as members of the main opposition BJP party. At the same time, scandals from Indira Gandhi's final years, including the Ottavio Quattrocchi affair, continue to cast its shadow on Sonia Gandhi

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