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Much to the chagrin of Sonia Gandhi Pranab Mukherjee backs Narasimha Rao's legacy
President Pranab Mukherjee's sudden attempt to bring back the legacy of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao is creating anxiety all over the country, particularly among Congress circles. People close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi are watching his moves in this regard with suspicion.

WHILE DELIVERING P V Narasimha Rao memorial inaugural lecture in Hyderabad, on December 31, last year, Pranab Mukherjee surprised everyone in the Congress party. He also praised Rao for his political sagacity and farsightedness that benefited the country immensely. It was the first time after Rao’s death that a highest dignitary in the country participated in a programme, organised in his memory.

While the Congress party claims the present Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was the architect of economic reforms in the country, the President said Rao was the father of economic reforms. He also praised him as the architect of India's 'Look East' foreign policy and the leader who brought peace to terror-ravaged Punjab.

Every one is aware of Sonia Gandhi’s displeasure towards former prime minister, as Rao did not allow her to play political role when he was in the office. Ever after his defeat in 1996 polls, being Congress president, he used to continue his grip on the party affairs. Only after his resignation from the party position, following a bribery case, Sonia Gandhi was able to take Congress leadership.

As a result, after the death of Rao, his dead body was not allowed inside AICC headquarters for tributes and his funeral services were also not allowed to be performed in the national capital, New Delhi. Even Mukherjee had earlier never associated himself openly in any programme to remember Rao.

Political observers believe Mukherjee is intentionally attempting to bring back Rao’s legacy only to create embarrassment to the Congress president. It also came to be known that he rescheduled his winter camp in Hyderabad to be present in this programme.

After this programme, it seems he is intending to persuade Government of India to create national memory for Rao in New Delhi. Till now no memory was created for him in the national capital.
In this context, the letter written to the President, by the Congress Secular Hindu Forum general secretary K Ravi Kumar, who is known as a close associate of Pranab Mukherjee has gained political significance. In his letter, he asked the President to direct the government for setting up a fitting memorial for the former prime minister in New Delhi.

Praising Rao as a highly intelligent and knowledgeable leader, who led the nation at a crucial period, Ravi Kumar said that probably nowhere in the world, such a highly acknowledged scholar became head of the nation.

He expressed his sadness that even after eight years of his death, the Government of India failed to provide any appropriate memorial in his honour in the national capital. In this regard, Ravi Kumar suggested an immediate creation of two memorials for Rao.

First, he suggested to rename Vignan Bhavan in New Delhi after his name and may be called as “P.V.Narasimha Rao Memorial Vignan Bhavan”. Secondly, he suggested renaming Shahjahan Road after his name as “P V Narasimha Rao Road”, as the former Prime Minister resided there after becoming Member of Parliament for the first time in 1980. If the president forwards this letter to the Prime Minister, the Congress party may be forced to consider the same, keeping in view the crucial position Mukherjee occupies now.


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