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Indira Gandhi Was Powerful PM, Gave Sense Of Pride To Country: Sharad Pawar

Pawar recounted that once when Gandhi visited Russia as prime minister, a junior minister came to receive her at the airport instead of the head of the state.

Veteran politician Sharad Pawar
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Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday described late Indira Gandhi as a "powerful prime minister" who gave the country a sense of pride.

He was speaking at a function organised by the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre here where women who have done commendable work in various fields were felicitated. Actor Shabana Azmi and her husband and lyricist Javed Akhtar also attended the function. 

"If somebody asks who was the powerful prime minister in post-Independence era, the answer is Indira Gandhi. Because she gave a sense of pride to the country," Pawar said. He recounted that once when Gandhi visited Russia as prime minister, a junior minister came to receive her at the airport instead of the head of the state.

To show her displeasure over the breach of protocol, Gandhi went to the Indian ambassador's residence instead of the place where she was supposed to stay during her visit, he said. "Indira Gandhi took that stand to assert our self-esteem. It happened because she was a powerful prime minister," Pawar added.

When he, as Maharashtra chief minister, introduced a bill granting women equal share in family property, it faced resistance within the party, but he brought his male colleagues around to his view and went ahead with the decision, the NCP chief said.

Similarly, when he was defence minister, he pressed ahead with the decision to induct women into the armed forces despite opposition from some quarters, Pawar said.

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