Published: 21st May 2021
#ThrowbackToday: It's been three decades since former PM Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated
In today's #TBT, we recall the brutal assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi and how things played out on that particular day. Also, the consequences of the assassination itself on the country
It all started out as a usual busy day in the life of a politician. Elections were around the corner and Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, was campaigning furiously. On May 21, 1991, the 46-year-old had just wrapped up rallies in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh and was in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. The stage was set, towards which the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family was headed. A frenzy of activity erupted as he walked towards the stage, as was expected. Among all the people he greeted then, one of them was Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, also known as Dhanu. As she bent to touch his feet, the RDX explosive in her belt exploded and Rajiv Gandhi was killed. Now, at the same spot, seven pillars stand to mark the death of a fine man.
The three big consequences of the assassination were that Congress came back to power, LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the organisation to which Dhanu belonged) was banned and the DMK, on account of its supremo late Karunanidhi being close to LTTE, lost its ground in Tamil Nadu.
Rajiv Gandhi is best known for being India's youngest prime minister at 40 and is also known as the architect of digital India. He is also credited for promoting science and technology, reducing the voting age and laying the foundation of Panchayati Raj institutions.