HYDERABAD: Sixteen years after the death of the 'father of economic reforms and pride of Telangana', the Congress is now keen to own the legacy of its former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
Marking the 29th anniversary of the first Union Budget of his regime, which paved the way for economic liberalisation in the country, the Congress finally took 'pride' in PV's accomplishments and contributions to the country and termed the historic budget as a 'bold new path of economic transformation'.
The Congress, which faced severe criticism for not allowing PV Narasimha Rao's funeral in Delhi and almost disowned him, described the late Prime Minister as 'a dedicated Congressman, who served the party devotedly in various capacities".
At a time when the Telangana PCC started celebrating PV's year-long birth centenary on Friday, praise was heaped on him by none other than AICC president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.
Both the leaders sent their written messages to PCC chief N Uttam Kumar who read them out at the function held at Gandhi Bhavan.
"PV was the most scholarly and erudite personality. He became PM at a time when grave economic crisis stared the nation. The Union Budget presented on July 24, 1991 paved the way for the economic transformation of our country. Above all, he was a dedicated Congressman, who served the party devotedly in various capacities. PV was a very respected national and international figure. The Congress party takes pride in his many accomplishments and contributions," Sonia Gandhi said.
In tune with the changed attitude of his mother towards PV, AICC former president Rahul Gandhi too said, "We celebrate the legacy of a man whose contribution continues to shape modern India. From joining the Congress party in his teenage years to becoming PM of the largest democracy, his remarkable political journey reflected his grit and determination," Rahul Gandhi said.
Rahul Gandhi further stated, "July 24 marks the 29th anniversary of the 1991 Union Budget. On this day, India embarked on a bold new path of economic transformation. PV and Manmohan Singh played a pivotal role in ushering in the era of liberalisation." Rahul Gandhi also termed PV a 'remarkable individual'.
The ruling TRS in the state started celebrating PV's year-long birth centenary on behalf of the state government. While PV's son Prabhakar Rao and daughter Vani Devi attended the state government function held on June 28, PV's brother Manohar Rao attended the Congress function today. Thus, the family members are now divided between the Congress and the TRS.
Participating in the Congress' function today through webinar, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed PV the 'father of economic reforms'. PV had great concern towards the poor, he said. Economic liberalisation and reforms were his major contributions to the nation, Manmohan added.
The former Prime Minister said PV took tough decisions when the country was facing shortage of forex reserves. His contributions to other sectors could not be underestimated. PV had deputed Opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee as leader of the Indian delegation to the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva, where India successfully thwarted Pakistan's resolution to censure India on its record of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
Former President Pranab Mukherjee said PV provided much needed stability to the country. He handled many tricky issues, including the problem of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and always encouraged youngsters in national politics, the former President said. PV was one of the great Prime Ministers of the country, Pranab added.