Sonia continues to insult Narasimha Rao

On the face of it, the government’s proposal to erect a memorial for former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao should have been welcomed by the Congress. But, far from greeting the news with delight, the Congress appears to be sullen over the posthumous honor for the best prime minister of Independent India. The reason is not very simple: yes, Congress president Sonia Gandhi loathes Rao from the core of her heart, but other party leaders abhor him no less.

Even if we disregard Subramanian Swamy’s accusation, that she hated Rao because he did not allow the investigation into the Rajiv Gandhi assassination take a trajectory she was keen on, her spite is exceptional. The spite of other party leaders is no less in intensity. After all, Rao singularly subverted the Congress system a cornerstone of which was socialism, the ideology that fattened Congress leaders and other members of the Establishment but did immense harm to the economy and the people at large.

Sonia’s malice against Rao coalesced with the unease and indignation of Congress leaders, and the result was a party, headed by her, which yearned to revive the abomination called Nehruvian socialism—abomination for the people of India, and a boon for conventional Congress leaders, their intellectual lackeys, and chummy businessmen. Their moment came when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) grabbed power in 2004 and wielded it with impunity and impetuosity.

Rao, meanwhile, was seen as an enemy who had grievously hurt the socialist kleptocracy in 1991. He had ended the flourishing industry of procuring licences and permits. It was not that wheeler-dealers became extinct, but a perennial stream of revenue was dammed, a sin for which Rao faced eternal damnation in the Congress purgatory, over which Sonia gradually established her supremacy.

Former Nehru-Gandhi loyalist K. Natwar Singh wrote in his autobiography, One Life is Not Enough, that Sonia ‘wasn’t very fond of’ Rao’. According to Singh, the former Prime Minister ‘seemed uncharacteristically agitated and restless’ when the two met one day in December 1994. Rao told Singh who was then a junior minister: ‘I can take on Sonia Gandhi. But I do not want to do so. Some of her advisers have been filling her ears against me. I don’t take them seriously. Sonia’s case is different.’ It was Rao’s decency that he did not take on Sonia—perhaps an elderly statesman’s solicitude for a woman, howsoever unkind, who has been widowed at a relatively young age.

But she was unrelenting: ‘Her attitude towards me is affecting my health. If she wants me to go, she only has to say so. I have done my best to meet all her desires and requirements promptly,’ Rao told Singh. The ex-PM also tried to patch up with Sonia, but to no avail.

In his book, The Accidental Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s media advisor Sanjaya Baru wrote: ‘Rao… came to be viewed with hostility by the Gandhi family and those close to it, and has been relegated to an insignificant place in the party’s official memory.’

When Sonia took the reins of the grand old party in her hands, she ensured that Narasimha Rao was not included in the Congress Working Committee, despite the fact that he was a former AICC president and a prime minister; his name did not figure in the large list of ‘special invitees.’

Neglect and insult continued even after Rao’s death. He died on 23 December 2004. Veteran journalist M.D. Nalapat wrote on 27 December:

Strangely—or perhaps entirely expectedly—despite a special Union Cabinet meeting at 3 p.m. on the subject of his funeral, at his 9 Motilal Nehru Marg home there were no arrangements made to receive the body and place it on a platform, nor flowers, nor any laying out of carpets by the administration for the mourning crowds to sit down on, nor even a shamiana on the lawns.

There was no state funeral for the father of economic reform, though lesser politicians like Sanjay Gandhi and Charan Singh were accorded such honors. In fact, even Rao’s body could not find a place in the national Capital for cremation; it was flown his home state, Andhra Pradesh.

The next day, December 24, the body of the former Congress prime minister was brought to the gates of the AICC office at 24, Akbar Road and kept there for 20 minutes, ‘to pay homage.’ Apparently, the body was so heavy that it would not have been possible to lift what was left of PV from the gun carriage into the Congress headquarters,’ wrote Nalapat.

The same disregard for Narasimha Rao continues till date. In a TV talk show, Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh leader refused to welcome the belated honor to Rao, despite continuous prodding of the anchor. Evidently, Singh didn’t want to annoy Sonia Gandhi. Even if it mean disrespect for the former Prime Minister.

Ravi Shanker Kapoor is a journalist and author. He upholds freedom of expression, individual liberty, free market, and open society. He is an uncompromising opponent of Islamism, communism, and other totalitarian ideologies. He is also a critic of intellectuals, as evident from his third book, How India’s Intellectuals Spread Lies (Vision Books).
  • Ram Sharma

    Her entry into the Gandhi Family itself is a big mistake. But it is a family affair. But her entry into Congress Party and Indian Politics is a blunder made by all Indians. She is more than unfit and shown the door.

  • Suresh Deshpande

    Congress always promoted corruption, communalism, and Nehru dynasty. How else can you explain Sonia, an eight class pass waitress, becoming Congress President and Pappu, a third rate person with no experience being promoted as the next president.

  • Anil

    It is for many reasons along with these, narsimah rao was thn PM when the Babri masjid was demolished and also as the CM of andhrapradesh he made many bold moves against anti-nationalist set of muslims which irked the muslims badly there one of the famous ones is “i will pour a hot liquidated led into the ears of the people who are listening to pakistani radio and have different ideas about it in 1970s” which deffinietly is not in the minority apeasing sonai and her loonies and the most talented Ra fucking Ga..

  • Prasad

    I fully agree with Mr.Kapoor on the greatness of Mr.Rao. I was 26 years old when Mr.Rao became the PM in 1991 and in 10 years I could see a lot of hope and change in several areas of an average middle class person’s life. Mr.Rao’s 5 years (91-96) was the first best period for India since Independence and today’s IT boom and our forex earnings/reserves are only due to him. I am really thankful to him for unshackling a whole generation from the license / permit Raj and the crappy mediocrity which was all pervasive during the time of PMs like Rajiv and Indra before him. The Congress party is nothing but a “family” party so they are careful not to give even an ounce of credit to anyone outside the family. But people are fools no more and very soon with the help of the social media and internet we might finally see the end of the Congress party…

  • Sekhars

    there is nothing good about this Italian. I have never came across any thing good about her except that she was able to marry Rajiv. Core issue remains that congressi are her gulam otherwise she would have been into the dust. Gulami ki adat gayi nahin hai. I won’t be surprise if she is herself turn out to be a foreign agent.

  • Beware of #MIMAAP

    Shame on Sonia and her loonies of the party who disregarded Rao’s heroic feats of saving India from the brink of economic disaster. Shamelessly they claim it was Rajiv who brought liberalisation to India, its utter nonsense if its so, why the country dived into such disastrous situation at the end of 1989 (end of Rajiv’s tenure), some intellectual Congress sepoys claim all hell broke loose only after 1989 November, that by 1991 begining we were selling Gold to sustain. Its not true, worst economic policies of legacy socialist Pranab as FM and Rajiv as PM led to that dismal financial situation.
    Now that many of us Indians are literates, can understand and recognise the Rao’s greatest efforts in shortest time while facing Congress loonies dirty games, is in itself earns a BharatRatna. To me, he is the best PM after Shastry.