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Learn from Indira Gandhi how impossible can be made possible: Prez

New Delhi: Tracing late Indira Gandhi’s stupendous comeback after the disastrous electoral rout in 1977, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said the lesson that must be learnt from her life is that every defeat can be turned into a stepping stone for success.

Delivering the Indira Gandhi Centenary lecture on the occasion of her 100th birth anniversary, he said even the impossible can become possible.

“The lesson that we must draw from the life and legacy of Indiraji are that every defeat can be turned into a stepping stone for success. Even the impossible can become possible.

“What is important is not victory or defeat but the effort that we make to achieve our goals in the service of our nation. We must be relentless in our striving for the welfare of our people,” he said.

With Congress President Sonia Gandhi and a host of leaders including Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the dais and in the audience, Mukherjee referred to the 1977 Lok Sabha elections following the Emergency period that resulted in a disastrous defeat for the Congress and Gandhi, after which the Congress had to sit in Opposition for the first time in 30 years.

He recalled the events that followed her defeat for which she accepted responsibility and the atmosphere following the elections that was extremely hostile to her.

“The atmosphere following the elections was extremely hostile for Indiraji. The Janata Party as well as a section of Congressmen conducted a relentless slander campaign against her. The media was also completely against her. Anti-Indira rallies were held across the country with demonstrators shouting ‘Hang her!’,” he said.

The President said the Shah Commission was constituted and the then Home Minister declared that Indira Gandhi’s ‘crimes’ deserved a trial of a nature of Nuremberg.

“Frivolous cases were instituted against her and in one instance, she was even made co-accused in a case of stealing eggs and chicken in Manipur,” he said.

PTI