Lawyer and politician PV Narasimha Rao, who served as the 9th Prime Minister of India (1991–1996), had a notable stint in office especially for his role in kick-starting reforms that liberalised an Indian economy that was then in tailspin – he dismantled the then prevailing Licence Raj. He is often referred to as the ‘Father of Indian Economic Reforms’. He was also the first prime minister of India from the non-Hindi-speaking area of the country (South India). Most significantly, Rao’s term saw the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh when BJP’s Kalyan Singh was CM, which in turn triggered one of the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in the country since Independence. Today is his birth anniversary and a number of dignitaries have responded on Twitter. Check them out:
1. “Tributes to Narasimha Rao on his birth anniversary. He led India at a crucial time & his leadership was notable and vital”, tweeted PM Narendra Modi
Tributes to Shri PV Narasimha Rao on his birth anniversary. He led India at a crucial time & his leadership was both notable & vital.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 28, 2016
2.”Tributes 2 the architect of India’s reforms Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao on His Birth Anniversary. He is the strategist who ushered in a new India”, tweeted Union Minister for Urban Development, Venkaiah Naidu
Tributes 2 the architect of India’s reforms Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao on His Birth Anniversary. He is the strategist who ushered in a new India
— M Venkaiah Naidu (@MVenkaiahNaidu) June 28, 2016
3.”The good that Narasimha Rao did to the country lives after him and has changed the very surrounding in which we live and work. The harm too has lived on”, said Vice President Hamid Ansari at a book release.
4. Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s “pro-Hindu mindset” encouraged the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar stated. Rao was completely convinced that by talking to the sadhus and saints he could solve the problem (Ayodhya’s Ram temple issue),” Aiyar had said at a book release.
5. Former Union minister Natwar Singh who also worked closely with Rao, described the Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992, as “the biggest failure” of the then prime minister, who otherwise, according to them, took bold and timely decisions on economic reforms.
6. Senior journalist Shekhar Gupta said the ploy to “demonise” Rao on the Babri issue was a Congress attempt only to win over the Muslims by saying that “look, Rao is responsible for the Babri demolition and not the party. The Muslims of UP are not fools; they knew pretty well who opened the locked gates of the disputed structure,” Gupta said recalling the decision taken by then Rajiv Gandhi government.
7. “Tributes to Sri PV Narasimha Rao garu on his 95th birth anniversary. His leadership led India through a crucial transformational phase”, tweeted N Chandrababu Naidu
Tributes to Sri P.V. Narasimha Rao garu on his 95th birth anniversary. His leadership led India through a crucial transformational phase.
— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) June 28, 2016