Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi never intended to take up politics as a career. He was a pilot till the death of his brother Sanjay Gandhi under tragic circumstances. He was then persuaded to give up his job and enter politics which was in his blood. Further, he could get the benefit of intensive political training as a constant companion of his illustrious mother. Both in her company and alone he visited practically every country of the world. He turned the country extensively and acquired a close understanding of the Indian people and also sympathy for their suffering. As AICC general secretary, he could acquire valuable administrative experience. All were impressed by this calm and quiet man of courage and determination who could get things done. He could show that he had tact and skill and could keep his presence of mind in the most difficult situations.
It was these qualities which enabled him to face the challenges which confronted him on his election as the prime minister. Mob frenzy and violence which follow the assassination of late Mrs. Indira Gandhi, were put down with an iron hand. Mischief mongers were left in no doubt of the capacity of the new government to maintain law and order. Even important officials were dismissed on the spot. Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi had unlimited store of both physical and mental energy. This is shown by the fact that following the assassination of his mother, he did not sleep or rest for four consecutive areas of the city.
He began well, and he did very well during the five years that he was at the affairs. He won the confidence of all sections of Indian sections of Indian society. His foreign tours covering all the great countries of the world were a grand success. He created a favorable impression where ever he went. Even in the U.S.A., he was warmly welcomed and given a loud and long standing ovation at the press conference with which his visit to that country concluded.
He has remarkable achievements to his credit. He waged a relentless battle against corruption even at the highest level. Anti-defection bill was passed and it became an act. It will go a long way towards cleaning Indian political life. The Punjab accord and the Assam accord speak volumes of his political maturity and acumen. Thus the way was paved for the solutions of the two thorny problems which threatened the unity and integrity of the nation. Terrorism was put down with an iron hand and the terrorists were on the run during his regime.
Accord was also achieved with Mr. Laldenga and in this way the Mizo-problem was also solved. Agreement was reached with the TNV in Tripura and the terms of the agreement envisage that all those who have gone underground must come up and join the main stream of nation life. The problem of Gorkhaland was also resolved with the signing of an agreement between the GNLF, the West Bengal government and the centre. Thus as a result of the sagacity and farsightedness of our beloved, youthful late prime minister, peace was restored n the entire north eastern region which had been trouble-torn for quite a long time.
India-Sri Lanka accord is another of his outstanding achievements. In the beginning the accord was widely criticized, but the Indian peace keeping force did commendable work and gradually the organized terrorist activity of LTTE was put down with an iron hand. With the support of the people, peace was restored and normal life again become possible for that island country. The island was thus saved from becoming a political base of such hostile powers as the U.S.A., the Jews and Pakistan.
Ever since the young late prime minister came to the helm of affairs, the country was plagued with a number of natural calamities. There was unprecedented drought over large parts of the country for a continuous period of three years. The young late prime minister faced the situation with great courage and determination. Administration was geared up to work on war footing to provide relief to the suffering and starving people. Rajiv Gandhi himself toured the country extensively, met the people and listened to their grievances, took decisions on the spot and issued orders to provide adequate relief. Delay and red tapism were thus cut down to the minimum.
Similarly, when cholera broke out the slums of Delhi and a number of Trans-Yamuna colonies, he rose to the occasion and tackled the situation with his usual courage, determination and firmness. Hence the epidemic could be controlled within a reasonable time, and much suffering was avoided. We congratulate him on his resourcefulness and capacity for taking right decisions at the right time.
During the election year 1988-89, a storm was raised in the parliament over the purchase of the Bofors Guns. There was much mudslinging and character-assassination. However he could weather the storm successfully and come out entirely unscathed. Rather, the tables were turned on the position. Jawahar Rozgar Yojna was launched for the benefit of the rural poor. Panchayati Raj was made a reality by the addition of a new chapter to the Indian constitution and the urban municipalities and corporations were also strengthened through the 65th amendment of the constitution.
Thus, the youthful prime minister went to the polls with remarkable achievements to his credit. The elections resulted in a hung parliament with the congress getting only 194 seats in the new parliament. Rajiv preferred to play the role of the leader of the opposition and the N.F. government was formed at the leader of the opposition, his role was constructive. He never failed to point out the mistakes and failures of the government. His criticism always was based on the realities of a situation. This is proved by the fact that in many a case, the government had to accept his point of view and act accordingly.
Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi reached the peak of his popularity during the midterm pools to Lok Sabha in 1991. He drew mammoth crowds whenever he went. His sudden and unexpected assassination was a tragedy not only for India but for the entire world.