21 May 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassinated

Rajiv Gandhi, the 46-year-old former Indian prime minister, ¬†was campaigning for the Congress Party on the second day of voting in the world’s largest democratic election when a powerful bomb, hidden in a basket of flowers, exploded killing him instantly.

At least 14 other people were also killed in the attack in the town of Sriperumbudur, about 30 miles from Madras, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Gandhi’s death marked the end of the Nehru dynasty that had led India for all but five years since independence from Britain.

After his brother Sanjay was killed in an air crash in 1980, he gave up his job as an airline pilot and was elected to Sanjay’s parliamentary seat. He became prime minister after his mother, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards in 1984. His Congress Party won a record majority later that year.

He encouraged foreign investment, a freer economy and rejuvenated his own party, ridding it of his mother’s unelected cronies. After he lost the election in 1989, Rajiv Gandhi resigned.

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