Congress party shut the gates of its headquarters and refused to bid official farewell on the death of former Prime Minister and party president Narasimha Rao, whose "crime" was to end "proprietory control" of Nehru-Gandhi family on the party, according to a new book.
Congress party shut the gates of its headquarters and refused to bid official farewell on the death of former Prime Minister and party president Narasimha Rao, whose “crime” was to end “proprietory control” of Nehru-Gandhi family on the party, according to a new book. Sanjaya Baru, media adviser to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his book said that Singh was the only Congress leader who regularly and religiously paid tribute and honoured PV’s memory, but was unable to honour Rao with a Bharat Ratna during his decade-long tenure.
“The party had again become a proprietorship,” he said. Praising Rao, he said the former prime minister proved that there was hope beyond the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and “deserved the Bharat Ratna” for his leadership.
“During the intervening years, the Congress party disowned PV. His name was virtually erased from the party’s public memory.
“When he died, the party shut the gates of its headquarters and refused to bid official farewell to a former president. His crime was seeking to end the properietory control of the INC by the Nehru-Gandhi family. PV died on December 23, 2004,” the book ‘1991- How P V Narasimha Rao made history’ states.
Baru said that Singh was the only political leader who kept Rao’s memory alive but failed to bestow a Bharat Ratna on him despite being Prime Minister for 10 long years.
“In the decade since then the only Congress leader who has regularly and religiously paid tribute and honoured PV’s memory on the occasion of his birth anniversary has been Manmohan Singh – the man whose political career was made by PV. But even Manmohan Singh was unable to honour PV with a Bharat Ratna during his decade-long tenure as Prime Minister. The party had again become a proprietorship,” he said.
Baru also talks abour Rao creating history by winning his Lok Sabha election from Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh when he bagged 89.5 per cent votes and earned himself a place in the Guiness Book of World Records.
This after Rajiv Gandhi had declined to give PV a ticket, forcing him to go into political retirement, the book states, adding that he went on to become a “local hero” by November that year.
Lauding Rao, the book says, “PV was India’s first ‘accidental’ prime minister, and a path-breaking one. He took charge of the national governance and restored political stability; assumed leadership of the Congress proving that there was hope beyond the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty; pushed through significant economic reforms and steered India through the unchartered waters of the post-cold war world.”
Baru said “from vanaprastha he was on the verge of taking up sanyasa. He was called upon to be a karmayogi. For the leadership he provided in that fateful year, PV deserved the Bharat Ratna. It is a sad commentary on this nation of ours that we do not know who our real heroes are and do not know how to honour them.”
The book also brought out how Rajiv Gandhi withdrew support to the Chandra Shekhar government, preventing him from presenting a full budget that led to seriously aggravating the economic crisis in the country.
Baru also said the year 1991 was a year of crises and tragedy, but also a year of possibilities and new resolve. “If India won its political independence in 1947, a new generation of Indians believed they had won their economic independence in 1991. It marked the beginning of a new phase of economic development and strategic engagement for India. It also defined new political possibilities.”
“Of course, PV had his flaws and made his mistakes. Of course, there was much that was wrong with his government. But, in that one year, 1991, he offered quiet, sober and competent leadership to a nation unnerved by multiple crises and unforseen changes and challenged,” he said.
“1991 was the year in which the Congress party grabbed the opportunity to return to its origins as a national political party and not just one more of the many family-dominated parties. Since then the ‘Indira Congress’ has morphed into the ‘Sonia Congress’,” Baru said in the book.