19 January 1966 – Indira Gandhi becomes the First Woman Prime Minister of India


19 January 1966 – Indira Gandhi becomes the First Woman Prime Minister of India

"Strive to create what my father used to call a climate of peace"Indira Gandhi

 
56 years back on 19 January 1966 Indira Gandhi became the first woman prime minister of India
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Indira Gandhi, the daughter of freedom fighter and independent India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru became the first woman Prime Minister of India on 19 January 1966.

The Oxford educated Indira, aged 48, took charge as India’s third Premier after the demise of Prime Minister Lal Bahaduri Shastri, in whose cabinet she was serving as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. She and Morarji Desai, the Finance Minister in the same cabinet were at loggerheads for the top post after the sudden demise of Shastri.

Gulzarilal Nanda, who was the acting Prime Minister after Shastri’s demise, was also a frontrunner for the post, excluded himself once Indira’s candidature was confirmed. 11 Chief Ministers from the 16 states of India pledged their support to Indira, following which the Congress party elected her as the Prime Minister.  While Desai was under pressure to withdraw his candidature, he opted for a vote instead. After Indira secured 355 votes as compared to his 169, this was Desai’s second failed attempt for the chair of Prime Minister.

56 years back on 19 January 1966 Indira Gandhi became the first woman prime minister of India

A year later, Indira won the General Elections and followed it up with another win in 1971, the year in which she spearheaded the Indo-Pak war, which created Bangladesh. 4 years later, Indira was ousted from office on corruption charges and banned from holding office for six years. The cloud of corruption charges and popularity of Morarji’s coalition Janata Party led to her defeat in the elections in 1977. After the coalition broke in 1979, the Congress once again came to power with Indira at the helm.

The orders to storm the Golden Temple in Amritsar with intent to flush out Sikh militants in 1984, was followed by the assassination of Indira Gandhi in the same year.

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