p-v-narasimha-rao

Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao (popularly known as P.V.) (28 June 1921 – 23 December 2004) was an Indian lawyer and politician who served as the Prime Minister of India (1991–1996). His ascendancy to the prime ministership was politically significant in that he was the first holder of this office from non-Hindi-speaking south India. He led an important administration, overseeing a major economic transformation and several home incidents affecting national security of India. Rao, who held the Industries portfolio, was personally responsible for the dismantling of the Licence Raj, as this came under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. He is often referred to as the “Father of Indian Economic Reforms”. Future prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh continued the economic reform policies pioneered by Rao’s government. Rao accelerated the dismantling of the License Raj, reversing the socialist policies of Rajiv Gandhi’s government. He employed Dr. Manmohan Singh as his Finance Minister to embark on historic economic transition. With Rao’s mandate, Dr. Manmohan Singh launched India’s globalisation angle of the reforms that implemented theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) policies to rescue the almost bankrupt nation from economic collapse. Rao was also referred to as Chanakya for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through the parliament at a time when he headed a minority government.

PV Narasimha Rao had humble social origins. He was born in a Niyogi family near Lakkampalli village of Narasampet in Warangal district, but later adopted and brought to Vangara of Bheemadevarapalli mandal in Telangana, then part of Hyderabad State, when he was three years old. His father, P. Ranga Rao, and mother, Rukminiamma, hailed from agrarian families.

Rao’s mother tongue was Telugu, and he had an excellent command ofMarathi. In addition to eight other Indian languages (Hindi, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu), he spoke English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German and Persian. Along with his distant cousinPamulaparthi Sadasiva Rao, Ch. Raja Narendra and Devulapalli Damodar Rao, PV edited a Telugu weekly magazine calledKakatiya Patrika in the 1940s. Both PV and Sadasiva Rao contributed articles under the pen-name Jaya-Vijaya.

Narasimha Rao had three sons and five daughters. His eldest son P.V. Rangarao was an education minister in Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy’s cabinet and MLA from Hanamakonda Assembly Constituency, in Warangal District for two terms. His second son, P.V. Rajeswara Rao, was a Member of Parliament of the 11th Lok Sabha (15 May 1996 – 4 December 1997) from Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency.

Rao very nearly retired from politics in 1991. It was the assassination of the Congress President Rajiv Gandhi that persuaded him to make a comeback. As the Congress had won the largest number of seats in the 1991 elections, he had an opportunity to head the minority government as Prime Minister. He was the first person outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to serve as Prime Minister for five continuous years, the first to hail from southern India, and also the first from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Since Rao had not contested the general elections, he then participated in a by-election inNandyal to join the parliament. Rao won from Nandyal with a victory margin of a record 5 lakh (500,000) votes and his win was recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records. His cabinet included Sharad Pawar, himself a strong contender for the Prime Minister’s post, as Defence Minister. He also broke a convention by appointing a non-political economist and future prime minister, Manmohan Singh as his Finance Minister. He also appointed Subramanian Swamy, an Opposition party member as the Chairman of the Commission on Labour Standards and International Trade. This has been the only instance that an Opposition Party member was given a Cabinet rank post by the ruling party. He also sent Opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to represent India in a UN meeting at Geneva.