Is KCR The Reason For Gandhis’ Sudden Love For PV Narasimha Rao?

 - Sakshi Post

HYDERABAD: After being banished for nearly two decades, the name of former prime minister and Congressman late PV Narasimha Rao has once again resonated in the corridors of the Congress party. Call it regional or national political compulsions or a marked shift in its treatment of the departed iconic leader, PV Narasimha Rao has earned rare praises from AICC president Sonia Gandhi and her son and former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have sent congratulatory letters to the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee for embarking on a year-long celebration of the birth centenary of Narasimha Rao. Born in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, many decades before a separate Telangana was created, Rao was renowned as an astute politician. He earned the sobriquet of ‘Chanakya of Indian politics’.

Interestingly, the high command’s gesture towards PVNR comes after the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led TRS government in Telangana has announced its decision to celebrate an year-long birth centenary of the great leader. It also arouses greater curiosity for the fact that a moment of praise spared for PVNR is rare coming from the party’s high command. His name was almost shunned in the Congress party’s discourse since the time he renounced politics and passed away. Many, both within the Congress and outside, attribute this to the frostiness that crept into the relations between Narasimha Rao and the current generation of the Gandhi family.

The letters of effusive praise and adulation by the Gandhis are now under sharp focus amid a debate as to what could have brought about this sudden reform in viewing PVNR. Rao was believed to have fallen from the grace of the first family of the Congress, a few years into his prime-ministership in the 1990s. The gap only widened further even after he renounced politics. To his credit, he was the first non-Nehru-Gandhi family personality of the Congress party to have seen through a full-term as the country’s prime minister.

Here is how Sonia Gandhi’s letter read: "After a long career in state and national politics he became Prime Minister of India at a time of grave economic crisis. Through his bold leadership, our country was able to overcome many challenges successfully. The Union Budget of July 24, 1991 and paved the way for the economic transformation of our country."

"On this day (July 24), India embarked on a bold new path of economic transformation. Shri PV Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh played a pivotal role in ushering in the era of liberalisation. I hope this event will revive interest among our youth to learn about India's growth story and the remarkable individuals who made this possible," is how Rahul Gandhi's letter to the TPCC paid tribute to the late leader.

For many within the Congress party, this is a heartening development as till this time, there was no instance of either Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi publicly acknowledging the contribution of Narasimha Rao with a lavish praise as this.

Besides Sonia and Rahul, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh also showered encomiums on the man who brought him into political governance. It was PVNR’s bold move to induct Dr Manmohan Singh in his Union cabinet as his finance minister. The duo, till today, is credited with pioneering fiscal reform process and opening the doors of the Indian market by liberalizing the economy through a series of reforms.

But then, what suddenly made it a political compulsion for the Congress party to change its mind on PVNR and shower him with lavish praise? The reason appears to be centered more around regional political interests than national. Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao’s latest move is believed to have prompted a sudden, sea change in this direction. KCR has recently announced that his government would celebrate an year-long birth centenary of the towering political personality from the Telangana land as a tribute to his contribution to the country.

The TRS chief’ move is being seen in political circles as a subtle and smart attempt at owning PVNR as a ‘favourite son of the Telangana soil’ and thus rob the Congress party of his legacy. Given the treatment meted out to Narasimha Rao in the Congress party, especially a few years before his death and after, it is considered as a masterstroke from KCR to completely disassociate the great leader from the Congress at a time when the party’s popularity in the state is at its lowest ebb.

Interestingly, KCR embracing former prime minister to celebrate his birth centenary also marks a shift in his own approach towards the late leader as PVNR had always been a staunch nationalist and thus never extended his open support to the cause of a separate Telangana state.

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