New Delhi, Feb 9,2024: P.V. Manohar Rao, the brother of former Prime Minister late Narasimha Rao, who was conferred with the Bharat Ratna award on Friday, said the coveted award should have been given to the first non-Gandhi Prime Minister from the Congress 20 years ago.
Narasimha Rao’s brother, in an exclusive conversation with IANS, tore into the Congress party for ‘denying his due’ for 20 long years and also slammed the top leadership for not acknowledging and recognising his contributions to the country, leave aside taking pride in the series of reforms that happened under his leadership.
He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the awarding the nation’s highest civilian honour to Narasimha Rao.
“Narasimha Rao should have been awarded Bharat Ratna 20 years ago but Manmohan Singh-led UPA couldn’t do it,” former PM’s brother said.
PV Manohar Rao, in a veiled attack on Gandhis, said that the partymen were in favour of nation’s highest civilian honour for Narasimha Rao but ‘directions from certain leaders’ prevented it from facilitating the same.
“Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for 10 years but it kept brushing the issue under carpet. Cong govt didn’t give award, despite being in power for 10 years. It’s no secret that UPA government functioned as per the diktats of certain people in the party.” he said.
“It never announced any award or honour despite Narasimha Rao’s ground-breaking leadership in taking the nation forward,” he added.
Further sharing his angst and anger, he said that Narasimha Rao’s contribution to India’s growth trajectory is immense and therefore rather than burying it under the carpet, this should have been celebrated and his leadership should have been hailed by Congressmen.
When asked if Congress forgot his legacy, he said that it was time to celebrate and not to make political statements but he did mention, “some leaders within the party are sad & disappointed today over top honours being extended to first non-Congress Prime Minister.”
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced Bharat Ratna award for two former Prime Ministers including PV Narasimha Rao and Charan Singh and renowned scientist Dr MS Swaminathan.
Expressing gratitude to PM Modi, PV Manohar Rao said that he was very thankful to the Prime Minister for the distinguished honour to former PM Narasimha Rao. He said that not just his family & members were elated & ecstatic over the top honours but many within the party are also overjoyed.
“I am thankful to PM Modi for acknowledging Narasimha Rao’s exceptional contribution to the nation and awarding him Bharat Ratna,” he said.
On a closing note, Manohar Rao said that he along with the family members are now preparing a big celebration.
Narasimha Rao was India’s Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996 and is the man who opened India’s economy to the world, heralding strong economic growth.
He is widely credited for initiating key economic reforms in the country. He along with the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh governed at a challenging time and steered the nation towards prosperity.