It is as if Wiki Leaks is out to stir Indian politics. Recently, it had come out with revelations on how India had caught US on the back foot in Pokhran –I and II. Now it has come up with an interesting revelation on the firebrand leader of Congress party, the late Sanjay Gandhi. It claims that three attempts were made to kill Sanjay, once with a high power rifle when the leader was visiting the state of Uttar Pradesh.
US embassy in its dispatch during September 1976 had reported that Sanjay was targeted in a well planned assignation attempt but it failed. The leader was shot two to three times, either on August 30 or 31st but he escaped and was not injured critically.
If at all, the leader suffered any injuries in the attack, the same were kept secret and every attempt was made not to let the media know of the same. The cable based its information on the inputs provided by Indian intelligence authorities.
This attack was a third in the series of attacks that took place on the young leader and were eventually blamed on radical elements that had support of outside power.
It is amply clear that not many noises were made in security circles too on any of three assassination attempt that the Congress leader faced. Sanjay had earned many enemies for himself as he was considered a radical leader and often took steps that did not amuse many, be they in power or in opposition.
Some other US cables of those turbulent times have come in the open. One such cable notes that both Sanjay Gandhi and R K Dhawan, the private secretary to Indira Gandhi were the once who wielded a lot of power during emergency days. Both of them ensured that Prime Minister’s power remained unchallenged.
The excesses that took place during emergency had its bearing on the fortunes of the ruling Congress and the party lost the general elections that were held in 1977 after Indira lifted the emergency.
In the elections that followed Janta Party swept to power. An enquiry was ordered into excesses that had been committed during emergency but interestingly there is no mention of any attack on Sanjay Gandhi nor was any specific enquiry ordered into the assassination attempts that this young leader had to face.
The young icon of Congress party was eventually killed in a plane crash in New Delhi on June 23, 1980. He was 33 at the time of his death and was seen as a natural successor to his mother. Sanjay’s death paved the way for Rajiv’s entry into Indian politics. Rajiv who was an Air Force pilot at the time of making his debut in the Indian politics eventually rose to become the Prime Minister of India after the killing of his mother.
These leaks have surfaced after 33 years of Sanjay’s death. Though these do not have much political implication in these days of coalition politics but have rekindled pubic interest into a firebrand leader’s life which was always marred by controversies.