Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today remembered his grandmother Indira Gandhi, country's first woman Prime Minister, on her 102nd birth anniversary and said she played a a key role in "establishing India as a strong country". "Blessed with strong leadership abilities, the Iron Lady played a key role in establishing India as a strong country. I pay heartiest tributes to my beloved grandmother on her birth anniversary," Mr Gandhi tweeted this morning in Hindi.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her senior party colleagues including ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also paid floral tributes to the first woman Prime Minister of the country this morning at her memorial in Delhi. Among other party leaders who accompanied Ms Gandhi to Shakti Sthal, the former Prime Minister's memorial, were former President Pranab Mukherjee and former Vice President Hamid Ansari.
Indira Gandhi served as the first and only woman Prime Minister of India from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in 1984.
She was assassinated by her own bodyguards at her official residence on October 31, 1984, months after she ordered Operation Bluestar, in which the army stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar, one of the holiest Sikh shrines, to remove separatists hiding inside.
Born on November 19, 1917, Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. She was actively involved in the freedom struggle. In her childhood, she founded the 'Bal Charkha Sangh' and in 1930, the 'Vanar Sena' of children to help the Congress party during the Non-Cooperation Movement, according to a government website.
In a post, the Congress said Indira Gandhi took the "country to great heights" and "her contributions to India's national security, economy & foreign policy will always be cherished." "On her birth anniversary we pay homage to India's first female Prime Minister, the Late Smt Indira Gandhi. Her will & determination led our country to great heights. Her contributions to India's national security, economy & foreign policy will always be cherished," the party wrote on its Twitter handle.