A file photo of Rahul Gandhi | PTI
A file photo of Rahul Gandhi | PTI
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The Congress has never bothered to credit Narasimha Rao for the massive liberalisation of the trade and investment policy in 1991.

Yet another political storm was kicked up, between the Congress party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), when Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of humiliating its senior leaders, including stalwarts such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani.

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress president, said that he was the first person to visit the ailing BJP leader and former prime minister Vajpayee at AIIMS Monday evening. The comment was made during an address to the Congress party workers in Mumbai.

The Congress president further accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not respecting his “guru” L.K. Advani.

Did Rahul Gandhi ever think how the Congress treated former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao?

Either the Congress president’s speech writers are completely ignorant of the party’s history or they deliberately misled Rahul Gandhi. But in this time of internet, it would have taken him hardly 10 minutes to find out how his party has treated its senior leaders.

Before circumstances threw up Manmohan Singh as the prime minister to lead a Congress-led coalition, P.V. Narasimha Rao was the only non-Nehru-Gandhi to lead a Congress government at the Centre and complete the tenure.

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It is worth recalling that following the Congress’ defeat in the 1996 General Elections under the leadership of Narasimha Rao, the party not only abandoned him forever but also did not let go of an opportunity to blame him for any alleged wrongdoing of the government led by him.

In March 2007, Rahul Gandhi had said that Babri Masjid would not have been demolished if a Gandhi was the prime minister. The mosque was demolished when Rao was the prime minister.

Narasimha Rao’s biography, titled Half Lion, by academician Vinay Sitapati, describes how the body of the former prime minister was not allowed inside the Congress headquarters and was kept on the pavement for more than half an hour. Party leaders tried convincing Rao’s family to organise his funeral in Andhra Pradesh. The family wanted a memorial for him in Delhi, which still remains elusive.

Is it even a surprise that Narasimha Rao is the only former prime minister from the Congress party who has not been awarded the highest civilian honour in the country, the Bharat Ratna?

Political commentator Sanjaya Baru, in an interview ,said that he had proposed to the Manmohan Singh government to award Bharat Ratna to Narasimha Rao. Baru, who was the then PM’s media adviser, said that Manmohan Singh was agreeable to the suggestion, but the proposal never moved.

The Congress has never bothered to credit Narasimha Rao for the massive liberalisation of the trade and investment policy in 1991. Before the arrival of the aggressive BJP on the national stage, when was the last time the Congress invoked the memory of Narasimha Rao?

One can go on counting such incidents but a gentle recall of how Sitaram Kesri was removed as the party president may do Rahul Gandhi some good.

And, by the way, Mr Gandhi, when was the last time you made a phone call to Natwar Singh?

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1 Comment Share Your Views


  1. Incorrect comparison. The entire Congress’ strength in the Gandhi family, hence all others in the party are subservient – right or wrong, it’s know to all Congress leaders as much. However, BJP is a democratic party and cannot use Congress as an example to justify their insults to lka and abvp. Does BJP then agree they are no different from Congress in terms of culture and character ?


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