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Rajiv Gandhi remembered on his 65th birth anniversary

Last updated: 20 August, 2009
New Delhi, Aug 20, Agencies: 13:01 IST

The nation on Thursday fondly remembered former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 65th birth anniversary.


President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh release balloons at the samadhi of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rajiv's widow and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi were among the first to pay floral tributes to the late leader at his memorial 'Veer Bhumi'.

Congress MP Rahul and his sister Priyanka along with her husband Robert Vadra were also present at the remembrance ceremony at the memorial, which was decorated with hundreds of white lotuses on the occasion.

Besides, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Delhi Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and senior Congress leaders also paid floral tributes at the memorial.

Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary is celebrated as Sadbhavna Diwas (harmony day) and Akshay Urja Diwas (energy day) in the country.

Sources said Sonia Gandhi will distribute wheelchairs to the physically challenged later in the day and Rahul will set off for Chhattisgarh, where he will celebrate his father's birth anniversary with tribals.

At a function, the ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will be re-christened after Rajiv Gandhi.

The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation will distribute awards to recognise the excellence achieved by Indians in different fields.

Rajiv Gandhi, the elder son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi, was the seventh prime minister of India. He took office on Oct 31, 1984 after his mother's assassination and resigned on Dec 2, 1989 following a defeat in the general elections. He became the youngest prime minister of the country at the age of 40.

Rajiv Gandhi had led the Congress party to a major election victory in 1984, amassing the largest majority ever in Indian Parliament. The party won 411 seats out of 542. He began dismantling the Licence Raj -- government quotas, tariffs and permit regulations on economic activity -- modernised the telecommunications industry, expanded science and technology initiatives and improved relations with the US.

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