Telangana govt launches Narasimha Rao's birth centenary fete; CM pitches for Bharat Ratna

Hyderabad, Jun 28 (PTI) The year-long birth centenary celebrations of former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao by the Telangana government got off to a start on Sunday with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao making a strong pitch for conferring 'Bharat Ratna' on the late leader, placing him on par with the country's first PM Jawaharlal Nehru.

The Chief Minister paid glowing tributes to the late leader, who hailed from the state, at his 'samadhi' 'PV Gyan Bhoomi' here on the occasion of his 99th birth anniversary, saying he was 'proud son of Telangana' and recalled his contributions to the country, including ushering in bold economic reforms.

Noting that Narasimha Rao did not get the due respect, he announced a slew of measures to honour his memory, including a memorial befitting his stature to be set up at the PV Gyan Bhoomi, kick-starting the birth centenary celebrations.

Chandrasekhar Rao said the country's hightest civilian award Bharat Ratna should be conferred posthumously on the late Congress leader, credited with leading the country through a critical phase during his tenure of 1991-96.

Speaking at the event at PV Gyan Bhoomi, attended by several state ministers, opposition leaders and family members of Narasimha Rao, the TRS supremo said he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with a delegation from the state and press the demand for Bharat Ratna.

Chandrasekhar Rao had recently announced that the birth centenary would be celebrated on a grand scale with year-long programmes and that the state cabinet and the Legislature will adopt resolutions seeking the highest civilian award for the former prime minister.

It is not just assembly and state cabinet passing resolutions.... I will personally lead a delegation of family members, state cabinet and other important persons, and request the Prime Minister... we will mobilise PVs followers across the country and bring pressure on the Centre through them also, he said.

Drawing a comparison between Nehru and Narasimha Rao, he said the latter did not get the respect which he deserved.

While Jawaharlal Nehru ji who first started planning (for development) in the country was among the architects of modern India, it was PV Narasimha Rao, who initiated economic reforms ...created a global India. There is no doubt about it. He was in the same league as Nehru. PV was a personality who was on par with Nehru, he said.

Hailing Narasimha Rao as a polyglot, a great freedom fighter and as a man who pushed reforms to transform the country, he said the former never boasted of his achievements or let others talk about them during his lifetime.

As part of the start of the centenary celebrations, the state governmet erected hoardings in major metro cities in the country.

The TRS leader said the centenary warranted grand celebrations as Narasimha Rao's towering personality needed to be brought to light fully.

The chief minister announced that events during the year would be planned in such a way that they will witness the participation ofPresident Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former President Pranab Mukherjee and former prime minister Manmohan Singh among others.

He said bronze statues of Narasimha Rao would be installed at his native place Vangara, Warangal, Karimnagar and Hyderabad in the state and at the Telangana Bhavan in New Delhi.

A portrait of the late leader would be unveiled in the Telangana Legislature, he said, adding it should also be installed in parliament.

.similarly, PVs portrait should be there in parliament also. They did not do it. The respect given to former Prime Ministers was not given to our PV. But, lets do it now. We will get it done. Lets fight. PVs portrait should be installed in parliament on a permanent basis, he said.

The state government would set up a research centre named after the former prime minister in Kakatiya University and a national-level conclave would be held in Delhi to remember him, he said.

It would urge the Centre to release a postal stamp in memory of Narasimha Rao and to name the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) after him.

The Chief Minister said Narasimha Raos birth centenary celebrations were being organised by Telangana people in 51 countries across the globe.

Narasimha Raos son Prabhakar Rao anddaughter Vani Devi, who spoke on the occasion, recalled his contributions and thanked the state government for organising his birth centenary.

Narasimha Rao was born on June 28, 1921 at Vangara in Karimnagar. He died on December 23, 2004. PTI SJR VS VS