Citing Rao's decisive stand on reforms and Modi's strong leadership in Gujarat, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley argued the country needs a hardcore politician as a leader "who really can show the direction and implement decisions...". Arguing that a decisive political leadership is a necessary prerequisite to govern India, he said "I think that also answers the basic question which I raised when I mentioned 1991 India under Narsimha Rao or Gujarat under Modi and compared it with examples of what happened in the last few years in Delhi".
The Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha suggested that reforms for Rao were more difficult than that for Atal Bihari Vajpayee and hailed Rao for "breaking the trend" by kick-starting reforms as his Congress party believed in regulation.
Speaking at the the launch of a book, ModiNomics, which is about the economic policies Modi pursued in Gujarat, Jaitley said the recent history has not been kind to Rao and the "good turning point" in the economy came when he became PM after "wasted" 70s and 80s.
"For Vajpayee as a BJP prime minister to move ahead with reforms was relatively easier because it was a natural part of his party's ideological thinking but for a man (Rao) who belonged to a party (Congress) which did believe in regulation to break the trend...," he said.
"When objective history is written, the 70s and 80s would be probably rated as the wasted opportunity and a good turning point came when Rao was the PM," Jaitley said.
The compliments for Rao from Bharatiya Janata Party came a day after former Union Minister K Natwar Singh said Rao as a PM felt "insulted" by Sonia Gandhi as she "felt" that the trial of Rajiv Gandhi's killers was not proceeding fast enough.