Describing Indira Gandhi as the “most acceptable” prime minister of a democratic country even today, President Pranab Mukherjee recalled her decisiveness while giving a subtle message to the Congressa leadership. Mukherjee, in a veiled message to the party leadership to speed up decision-making in organisational matters, recalled the former prime minister’s decisive style of functioning that helped her party score comeback victories in state polls a couple of months after the second Congress split of 1978. With Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi seated on the dais, flanked by Vice President Hamid Ansari, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, Mukherjee paid rich tributes to Indira Gandhi on the occasion of the release of a commemorative centennial volume on her life and works.
He also received the first copy of ‘India’s Indira – A Centennial Tribute’ unveiled by Ansari. The Congress is celebrating the centenary birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi. “She was one of the remarkable personalities of the 20th century all over the world. And to the people of India, even today after her passing away, she is the most acceptable ruler or prime minister of a democratic country even today,” he said evoking a thunderous applause from the audience that comprised of a galaxy of Congress leaders.
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 the state assemblies of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, and NEFA in 1978.
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.