Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, was born on August 20, 1944. August 20, 2022 is his 78th birth anniversary. Rajiv Gandhi’s stint as Prime Minister of India lasted for five years, from 1984 to 1989. Gandhi had taken over the reins of the Congress after his mother, the iconic Indira Gandhi, was assassinated. Prior to joining politics, Rajiv Gandhi worked with Air India. 

Gandhi’s stint as prime minister had several facets. He was the person who initiated India’s movement into the 21st century by funding technology. He was also the person behind India’s initial moves towards liberalising the economy. 

On the occasion of Sadbhavana Day or Harmony Day, the annual marker of Rajiv Gandhi’s birth on the Indian political calendar, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh shared a video of Rajiv Gandhi’s arch rival and BJP icon Atal Bihari Vajpayee praising the slain leader. 

In the video, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was India’s Prime Minister on two occasions, once for 13 days and then from 1999 to 2004, praises Rajiv Gandhi for helping him when Vajpayee had suffered kidney failure. 

“I had developed kidney failure. Doctors advised me to go to the United States for further investigation and treatment. [It was] difficult for me to make financial arrangements. Somehow, Rajivji came to know about that. He called me and decided to include me in the delegation to the United Nations,” Atal Bihari Vajpayee is heard saying in the video. 

He goes on: “I became a full fledged member [of the delegation] and all medical expenses were paid by the central government. I came back fully recovered.” 

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on May 21, 1991. 

Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924 to 2018) was the first non-Congress Indian politician to serve a full term in office. A poet and writer, it was under Vajpayee that India carried out its nuclear tests in 1998. Vajpayee is also credited for attempting to improve India-Pakistan relations. Atal Bihari Vajpayee suffered a stroke in 2009 which impaired his speech. On June 11, 2018, Vajpayee was hospitalised with a kidney infection. He died on August 16, 2018.