New Delhi: The US Embassy cables accessed by WikiLeaks have claimed that there were three assassination attempts on late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's second son Sanjay Gandhi. A 1976 dispatch says Sanjay was the target of an unknown assailant in a "well planned assassination attempt" during the Emergency.
It quotes Indian intelligence sources as saying that he was shot at three times on August 30 or 31, but escaped with minor injuries. The cables also mention an attempt on Sanjay using a high powered rifle when he was visiting Uttar Pradesh. Sanjay was killed in a plane crash in Delhi in 1980.
Another WikiLeaks cable also claims that AK Antony was "one of the only" leaders apart from Priyaranjan Dasmunsi who "flatly criticised" Sanjay Gandhi during 1976 AICC session in Guwahati during Emergency when the latter's political graph was on the rise.
The cables, made public by Wikileaks, also said the party faction led by Antony, the Kerala unit President, refused to support Sanjay and questioned his "rapid ascent to a position of power" asking "what sacrifices he has made for the party or the country".
In another cable which talks about Sanjay's unpopularity in Kerala, it is said that talks with a variety of people in May 1976 left them with the impression that Indira's second son was "not very popular" in the state. It said newsmen whom they met "resented" Sanjay's "rapid build up" saying that he was known only for his association with Maruti. The newsmen told US officials that Sanjay was not a politician and that he does not posses any qualities that were needed for political leadership.
(With additional information from PTI)