Anniversary of Death of Sanjay Gandhi MP Indira Gandhi Indian National Congress Controversies Driver Sonia Gandhi
Thursday marks the 42nd death anniversary of Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi, considered the heir apparent to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, who died in a plane crash in Delhi on June 23, 1980. Sanjay Gandhi was an MP and was supposed to succeed his mother Indira Gandhi at the head of the Indian National Congress. However, after his death, his elder brother Rajiv Gandhi was chosen as the political heir.
Gandhi was born on December 14, 1946. He was educated at St. Columba’s School, Delhi, Welham’s Boys’ School, Dehradun, Doon School, Dehradun, and Ecole D’Humanité, an international boarding school in Switzerland. Gandhi studied automotive engineering and completed an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce in Crewe, England. He even got a pilot’s license in 1976.
While Gandhi did good work for the community, his name is also attached to some controversies. Sanjay Gandhi is believed to have played a significant role in imposing a state of emergency on the country, allowing Indira Gandhi to do what she considered best for the country for at least six months.
IK Gujral, former Indian Prime Minister, had resigned from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting citing Sanjay’s interference in ministerial affairs. Sanjay Gandhi is also best known for a compulsory sterilization program he started in September 1976 to control population growth.
In June 1971, Maruti Motors Limited, now Maruti Suzuki, was incorporated and Sanjay Gandhi became its managing director. However, during his lifetime, Maruti could not manufacture any cars.
In 1977 Gandhi had a close encounter with death when he escaped an assassination attempt. An unknown gunman shot at his car during an election campaign but Gandhi managed to escape. Wikileaks had claimed that there had been three assassination attempts against Sanjay Gandhi.
In May 1980, just a month before his death, he was appointed General Secretary of the Congress Party.
Gandhi was flying a new plane at the Delhi Flying Club when it lost control and crashed. He received serious head injuries and died instantly.
While Gandhi was a competent pilot, he often engaged in daring stunts and low-altitude flying. Before boarding the plane, he was seen wearing a kurta-pajama and Kolhapur chappals and not the usual pilot’s uniform.