Several top leaders praised PV Narasimha Rao as part of the inaugural function of the year-long birth centenary celebrations former PM.

Uttam Kumar Reddy and othe TPCC leaders shower flower petals on an image of former PM PV NArasimha RaoBy arrangement
news Controversial Saturday, July 25, 2020 - 08:55

Top Congress leaders on Friday paid rich tributes to PV Narasimha Rao at the inaugural function of the year-long birth centenary celebrations of the former prime minister, with Sonia Gandhi describing him as a "bold leader and a dedicated Congressman" and Rahul Gandhi asserting that his contribution continues to shape modern India.

Congratulating the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee for having organised the event, Sonia Gandhi said, "Shri PV Narasimha Rao was a very respected national and international figure. The Congress party takes pride in his many accomplishments and contributions."

Sonia’s praise for Rao is significant given the frosty ties that they shared after he became the Prime Minister in 1991. Rao was the first leader outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to last a full-term as Prime Minister after being elected in 1991.

Congress insiders say that Sonia Gandhi or her son have never in the past publicly acknowledged Rao's contribution in India's economic growth story, the way she did today.

The BJP has often attacked the Congress, asking why have its governments never considered giving a Bharat Ratna to Rao. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in his speeches in Parliament accused the grand old party of not acknowledging the contribution of leaders outside the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Slamming the Congress, grandson of PV Narasimha Rao, NV Subhash, who is also a  BJP spokesperson said, “The Congress party has no right even to utter the name of such a great leader like PVNR whose mortal remains had not been allowed in the Congress party office in Delhi and had to be rushed to Hyderabad. The Congress party leaders are now lauding him after disowning PV’s legacy by not performing his last rites. It was the Modi Government which built a memorial in Ekta Sthal in Delhi and also later released a postal stamp for PVNR. Prime Minister Narendra Modi always spoke high about PV in his public speeches, also in the Parliament and Man ki baat programme. The Congress leadership did not talk even a word about PV before and after his demise.”

N V Subhash also criticised the Congress party for organising PV Narasimha Rao’s birth centenary celebrations for namesake. He said, “Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi confined themselves by simply forwarding read-out messages for the function. It showed how serious the Congress leadership was to organise a small function for PV and his birth centenary celebrations.”

Former President Pranab Mukherjee in his speech, delivered virtually, said Rao was a leader who inspired many, including him. He said working in the party and the government together for decades, "I was impressed by his political sagacity, his depth of comprehension of complex issues and his steely resolve to find solutions to even the most intractable of them."

Describing him as a "great son of the soil," former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Narasimha Rao can truly be called the father of economic reforms in India.

In her message, Sonia Gandhi said the Congress party takes pride in his accomplishments and contribution.

"Shri PV Narasimha Rao's tenure was also marked by a number of political, social and foreign policy achievements that have endured. Above all he was a dedicated Congressman who served the party devotedly in various capacities," she said in the message read out by Telangana Congress President Uttam Kumar Reddy at the function in Hyderabad.

Congratulating the party's Telangana unit for organising the function, Rahul Gandhi said, "On this occasion, we celebrate the legacy of a man whose contribution continues to shape modern India."

From joining the Congress in his teenage years to becoming the prime minister of the largest democracy, "His (Rao's) remarkable political journey reflected his grit and determination," Rahul said.

Narasimha Rao’s brother PV Manohar Rao, who was invited as the Chief Patron at the event, stressed the need for organising similar celebrations at the national-level to ensure that youth and the generations to come are educated about the contributions made by the former Prime Minister.

A host of other local leaders, besides former Union Ministers P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh also remembered Rao and paid rich tributes, while recalling his contributions.

(With PTI inputs)

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