While the debate around the best prime minister of India mostly converges around three names – Lal Bahadur Shastri, PV Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee but there are simply too many contenders for the Worst Prime Minister Trophy. There is Jawaharlal Nehru, There is Indira Gandhi, There is VP Singh, Manmohan Singh, HD Devegowda and IK Gujaral. But all of these gentlemen (and ladies) had done at least one thing in their regimes that neutralized their misdeeds to some extent or were simply too inconsequential.
Like Nehru is accredited for some development work (obviously because he was the first PM and the scope was immense), and IITs and Universities, Indira Gandhi is praised for the 1971 war. VP Singh quit before getting sacked, the stints of Gujaral and Devegowda didn’t last for too long to consider them worthy contenders. Manmohan Singh‘s biggest sin was that he was a lackey, a puppet of the Family.
So that, leaves us with just one name. Shri Rajiv Gandhi the name that finds its occurrence in almost every government schemes, state varsities, edifices, bridges, Airports and of course Congress manifestos. Shri Rajiv Gandhi is arguably the worst prime minister of India and inarguably the most overrated prime minister of India. If Rajiv Gandhi’s achievements were to be documented, the back of a postal stamp would be enough and if his failures were to be documented, well, there could be one massive book.
Here are some of Rajiv Gandhi’s failures as the Prime Minister of India:
Shielding culprits: Bhopal Gas Tragedy is certainly the biggest industrial mishap of India and one of the biggest in the world. Rajiv Gandhi allowed safe passage to Warren Anderson, the key accused in Bhopal gas tragedy case in exchange for the release of his childhood friend (?), who was serving a 35-year sentence in the US.
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Scammer: Rajiv Gandhi literally inaugurated the congress led mega scam festival with the help of his wife Sonia Gandhi and her Italian accomplices. The Bofors Scandal was first mentioned on Swedish Radio. It was alleged that the equivalent of sixty crores of Indian rupees were paid as bribes to Indian officials and Congress party members to secure the contract for the 410 howitzer guns to Bofors company of Sweden in face of stiff competition from a French gun company. It is also said Rajiv Gandhi rigged Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections of 1987 to favor its ally, National Conference. Leading political pundits ascribe the rise of Mujahiddins in the valley with the rigging of the ’87 elections.
Pseudo Secular: Rajiv Gandhi took Congress’s tried and tested strategy of Minority Appeasement to a whole new level by overruling a court judgement and enforcing an archaic law which took the right to alimony for Muslim women from their former husbands. He snatched the basic rights of Muslim Women in order to appease the Muslim clergymen who had and still have a domineering presence over the minds of Muslims. This is popularly known as the Shah Bano Case. Rajiv Gandhi cemented his position as the champion of Minority rights in India by getting Salman Rushdie’s book “Satanic Verses” banned.
Cold and Cruel: More than 8000 Sikhs were murdered in cold blood in and around Delhi as a retribution for the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He famously remarked “When a big tree falls, earth trembles”.
Here’s he uttering the infamous words:
Terrible Strategist: Rajiv Gandhi sent more than 100,000 soldiers (Indian Peace Keeping Force – IPKF) to Sri Lanka amidst the LTTE crisis. The IPKF had been mandated to disarm LTTE. He sent troops to Sri Lanka without even informing the Cabinet. It was a part of some masterplan which could never take off. The Indian army bore the ire of the locals and close to 1200 armed men ended up losing their lives. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE later on.
Here’s a Sri Lankan Soldier attacking Rajiv Gandhi in a State Event and in full public view:
So we see Rajiv Gandhi’s career is marred with inefficiencies, terrible decision making, dishonesty and general foolhardiness. However he is perceived as a renaissance man by a large section of Indians. The Congress governments left no stone unturned in eulogizing him. There are as many as 16 schemes in the name of Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv Awaas Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Shashaktikaran Abhiyan, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowships for ST students, are among few of the schemes named after him.
History has been very kind to Rajiv Gandhi who in my opinion is the worst Prime Minister India ever had!
With inputs from this Quora Post.