HYDERABAD:The Modi government’s decision to build a memorial for former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao in the national capital to honour him as the architect of the country’s economic reforms has come as a pleasant surprise to the late leader’s daughter and academician S Vani Devi.
Vani, who heads Sri Venkateshwara Group of Colleges in Hyderabad, is pleased that at last her father’s services to the nation are recognised but is still furious with the Congress for not only disowning Rao but also treating him shabbily. “When my father passed away, they (Congress high command) forced us to conduct his last rites in Hyderabad. Why did they confine him to Hyderabad when he served the whole nation?” she questioned in an interview with Express.
Recalling how the Congress put them through the shredder in the immediate aftermath of her father’s death, she said, “We are orthodox Brahmins and every minute counted for us after his death. We were emotionally drained but were forced to bring his body to Hyderabad. We were not politicians, so we did not know what to do. Shivraj Patil, whom I knew very well, advised me to take his body to Hyderabad and assured me he would take care of everything else. So many years have gone by and they have not done anything.”
Vani (63), one of PV’s eight children, further said, “Even YSR had promised to do a lot of things in my father’s memory but never did anything. Here was a man who battled against illness and financial crisis, became PM and served the nation like no other but was ignored by his own party! Even today, it’s the NDA government-led by Modi which has decided to honour him. They have no connection with my father and they need not do it but it shows they have respect for what my father had done,” she said. PV is the only former PM to whom there is no memorial in New Delhi.
While she is happy with the Modi government’s gesture, she said she did not know what the memorial would look like. “I had gone to Delhi and gave them a few pictures of my father and visited the site. I don’t know what they will do now or how they will construct it, but I’m okay with that,” she said. Asked to share Rao’s relationship with BJP leaders, Vani revealed that her father had immense respect for his successor AB Vajpayee.