NEW DELHI: The Congress, which was once wary of praising PV Narasaimha Rao, paid rich tributes to the former prime minister on his birth anniversary. Rao, who if often termed as the Chanakya for heading a minority Congress government from 1991-1996, did not get the due recognition during the decade UPA ruled the Centre from 2004-14.
Rao was PM when the 1992 Babri mosque demolition happened in Ayodhya that led to marginalisation of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. Besides, Rao often had divergent views with Sonia Gandhi, something that party managers did not forget for long, recall old timers.
When the BJP came to power in 2014, it quickly capitalised by announcing a memorial in Rao's name in the national capital prompting a rethink within the grand old party. With less than a year to go for the next national elections, the Congress, which has been slamming the Modi government over its economic policies, found virtues in the politics and economics of the former prime minister. The Congress officially tweeted to remember Rao, who was born this day in 1921, hailing him as the architect of economic reforms.
"We remember PV Narasimha Rao, India's 9th Prime Minister, on his birth anniversary today. He was referred to as Chanakya for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through the parliament at a time when he headed a minority government," the Congress tweeted.
We remember PV Narasimha Rao, India's 9th Prime Minister, on his birth anniversary today.— Congress (@INCIndia) June 28, 2018
He was referred to as Chanakya for his ability to steer tough economic & political legislation through the parliament at a time when he headed a minority Govt. pic.twitter.com/Iad7WElFmG
Interestingly, former prime minister Manmohan Singh was Rao's finance minister and played a key role in the 1991 economic reforms. Several state unit chiefs including G Parameshwara in Karnataka, Uttam Reddy in Telangana and Amit Chavda in Gujarat too joined the salutations, appreciating Rao.
"Father of Economic Reforms P. V. Narasimha Rao was a freedom fighter, a man of many talents, a master of many languages as well as a writer. We celebrate his birthday today and pay homage to the leader who revolutionised the Indian economy," Parameshwara, who is also deputy chief minister Karnataka, tweeted. Reddy organised a ceremony at Rao's final resting place in Hyderabad.
However, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had not tweeted a tribute until late evening. Rao, who had remained missing from Congress’ successive narratives for more than decade, was also duly acknowledged at the 84th plenary session held in March this year.
Prime Minister Modi pays tribute to Rao
Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao on his birth anniversary and hailed his “valuable leadership” during a “critical period” of India’s history. On the 97th birth anniversary of Rao, Modi tweeted, “Remembering our former PM Shri P V Narasimha Rao on his birth anniversary. Shri Rao is widely respected as a statesman who provided valuable leadership during a critical period of India’s history. Blessed with immense wisdom, he made a mark as a distinguished scholar as well.”