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He Had The Vision, Too…

A section of the masses in India started celebrating the Birth Centenary of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao on June 28, 2020. Unfortunately, many Indians were unaware of the event, as the main Political Party in Opposition, Indian National Congress, hardly took any initiative to mark Rao’s Birth Centenary. One should thank the Chief Minister of the Southern Indian Province of Telangana, Chandrasekhar Rao, for informing people about this event, by publishing advertisements in each and every national broadsheet in the last week of June.

Narasimha Rao, popularly known as Chanakya or the wise man in contemporary Indian Politics, had adopted the policy of L-P-G (Liberalisation-Privatisation-Globalisation) in the early 1990’s in order to rescue the Indian Economy from being globally isolated. Rao and his Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who became the Prime Minister in 2003, would always be remembered as the saviours of the Indian Economy. It is because of these two men, the South Asian Nation has not experienced any shortage in its Foreign Exchange Reserve (or Forex) since 1992. However, Rao’s own Congress Party, seemingly, has forgotten his contribution!

PV with Dr Singh

In 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Rao as a stalwart politician and an efficient administrator, saying that the latter had led India at a crucial juncture of the national history. PM Modi also admitted that some of Rao’s major decisions helped India make a steady economic progress. It is to be noted that Rao was the first Congress PM from outside the Gandhi-Nehru Family, with the second being Dr Singh. In fact, the top Congress leadership has never paid due respect to a person, like Rao. Even after his death on December 23, 2004, his body was not taken to the Congress Headquarters in New Delhi.

Senior Congress leaders are of the opinion that the relation between Rao and current Congress President Sonia Gandhi was never cordial. Sonia was not interested in joining the politics after the death of her husband Rajiv Gandhi, who had served as the sixth Prime Minister of India from 1984 to 1989. During that period, Rao had served as the ninth Prime Minister of India (from 1991 to 1996). According to party insiders, Rao was not interested in investigating the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, and it had hurt Sonia. Also, Rao had reportedly side-lined front-line Congress leaders, like Madhavrao Scindhia, Narayan Dutt Tiwari and Arjun Singh, during his tenure as the PM.

PV with Sonia

Political experts are of the opinion that PM Modi is actually following the path shown by Rao, who liberalised the Indian economy, encouraging the foreign investors to invest in India. The Indian Communists had opposed the Rao-Manmohan Model of the Indian Economy in the 1990’s… and now, they carry at least two cell phones, made in foreign countries, with them. Rao had rightly realised that it became important for the Indian companies to compete with foreign manufacturers of consumer and consumer-durable goods. Even before Modi, former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Dr Singh followed Rao’s path.

On Rao’s Birth Centenary Year, the Indian political outfits should rise above the petty politics and remember the person who had championed the idea of L-P-G three decades ago. A statesman deserves due respect even after his death!

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