The NDA Honouring Rao, A Double Blow To Sonia
One has to credit the Modi government with immense sense of humour, which in politics means the subtle ways of pin-pricking one’s rival without seemingly any ulterior motive. But this time it has excelled itself. In one move it has achieved double purpose—brought down Dr Manmohan Singh from the high perch, Sonia Gandhi put him on after declaring him as the architect of the economic liberalisation. And secondly in annoying Sonia by declaring that P.V.Narasimha Rao was the real promoter of the liberalisation of economy and he would be honoured for it.
Any mention of his name itself makes, one is told, Sonia angry, forget giving P.V. Narasimha Rao any honour. The Congress disowned him even before his death, his body was not allowed to be taken to the Party headquarters 24, Akbar Road. But this NDA government plans to glorify the late Prime Minister with a memorial honouring him as the architect of the country’s economic reforms.
This is—may annoy Sonia Gandhi—in fact the most appropriate way to recognise the fact that it was his courage to go against the Nehru’s Fabian socialism. A man who allowed himself to be remote controlled for 10 years, when he was the Prime Minister, could hardly dare to do away with Nehru’s economic policies without the support of Rao. The confirmation of this is that while Rao became a hate figure and was kicked out of the party without any public notification, Dr Singh was made the Prime Minister, albeit after ‘fixing’ his spine.
According to sources, the urban development ministry moved a proposal for cabinet approval to build a memorial ghat for Rao at Ekta Sthal Samadhi Complex on the ground that he was entitled to state honours as a former PM and as the harbinger of economic liberalisation. The move, though orchestrated by the NDA ally Telugu Desam Party, is being seen as an attempt to embarrass the Congress leadership which completely disowned Rao and forced his family to perform his last rites in Hyderabad.
The Rao memorial would be a raised plinth in marble with a plaque honouring the former PM. Last October, the TDP had moved a resolution urging the Centre to build a memorial for Rao, who hailed from Telangana.
Ekta Sthal also houses the memorial of Congress loyalist Giani Zail Singh whose term as President was full of controversies on account of his soured relations with then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In May 2013, the then Congress-led UPA government blocked demands for separate memorials, with the cabinet deciding to set up a common memorial ground—Rashtriya Smriti—in view of paucity of space.