‘Rajiv’s life was short but ‘impactful’, liberalisation his legacy’


PTI, May 21, 2024, 11:49 AM IST

Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s political life was very short but ”hugely impactful” and he left behind numerous legacies, including the 1991 manifesto which promised liberalisation, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Tuesday.

Ramesh remembered the contributions made by Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary.

”His political life was very short but hugely impactful. He left behind numerous legacies that we take for granted now,” he said.

”These include the right of 18 year olds to vote; Constitutional empowerment of panchayats and nagarpalikas, including reservations for women in elections to them; peace in Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and Punjab; India’s entry into the IT, computer and telecom era as a major power; the use of science & technology to address societal concerns and challenges; strengthening of India’s space and nuclear programmes. And much more,” he said.

One legacy, however, that is often overlooked is the Congress’ 1991 manifesto that was released by him on April 15, 1991 and on which he had spent long hours personally over a period of ten days, Ramesh said.

”Only one newspaper, The Telegraph, had captured its significance reflected in its headline the next day. The headline proved to be prophetic,” the Congress said and shared a screenshot of the newspaper headline which read ”Congress promises liberalisation drive” and has a picture of Rajiv Gandhi releasing the manifesto.

”On July 23, 1991, at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister quoted extensively from this manifesto – the last political will and testament of Rajiv Gandhi as it were -to justify the dramatic changes that the Narasimha Rao government was bringing about in economic policy,” Ramesh said.

India’s prime minister between 1984 and 1989, Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE cadres at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991 during an election campaign.

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