Indira Gandhi was the fourth Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Gandhi, who served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, is the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold the office. Indira Gandhi was the only child of the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. She served as the Chief of Staff of her father’s highly centralised administration between 1947 and 1964 and came to wield considerable unofficial influence in government. She was elected Congress President in 1959. Upon her father’s death in 1964, Gandhi refused to enter Congress party leadership contest and instead chose to become a cabinet minister in the government led by Lal Bahadur Shastri. In Congress’ party parliamentary leadership election held in early 1966 upon the death of Shastri, she defeated her rival, Morarji Desai, to become leader and thus succeed Shastri as the prime minister of India.