Indira Gandhi fought for secularism: Sonia Gandhi

Narendra Modi and Indira Gandhi

"She fought for her principles, against vested interests and agendas", she said while addressing the gathering prior to the inauguration of the "A Life of Courage" exhibition curated by the staff of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust and EKA Archives.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday hailed former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as one of the greatest leaders of India, saying she fought forces seeking to divide the people on the basis of religion and caste. Though her tenure as the prime minister of India has been in the line of fire because of the Emergency (1975-1977), there has been little doubt over her mettle as a strong leader. She was assassinated by her bodyguards at her Safdarjung residence in New Delhi on October 31, 1984. "That is what inspired her in all her battles - those she took on and those that she faced", Sonia Gandhi said.

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He termed Indira as India's iron lady, adding that his career as a parliamentarian was mentored by the former prime minister.

In an online poll organised by the BBC in 1999, Indira was named the "Woman of the Millennium", and her descendants including daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi and grandson Rahul Gandhi continue to lead the Congress party. She worked as his personal assistant and hostess while Nehru was prime minister from 1947 to 1964. She had an iron grip on power and was ruthless in dismantling her political opponents. She is the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister after her father Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.

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