He is believed to be one of the best Prime Ministers India has ever had, yet it was his own party courtesy Sonia Gandhi who chose to methodically remove any traces of the great leader to remain in and around 10, janpath and at the time of his death he was not only denied an official farewell fit for a former prime minister, it was with a lot of effort that space was allotted to build a memorial that too not in New Delhi, but in Hyderabad.
While his tenure marked a lot of high points economically, it also marked one of the darkest of events in Indian history – Babri Masjid demolition. While he in his quite ways ruffled the feathers of the Gandhi family (read Sonia Gandhi) during his tenure and refused to be the puppet that he was expected to be; it is believed that much of what he had to face from his party during his lean days was courtesy this attitude of his. So much so that some wild rumours floated around during Babri Masjid demolition suggesting that he was sleeping when it happened and he may have had a hand in the whole event.
Several aspects of PV’s life have been written about in the new book, Half Lion: How Narasimha Rao Transformed India by author Vinay Sitapati. One of his revelations include what his doctor shared on how PV’s heart was racing and his pulse quickened as he was watching the demolition on television and had to be given a medicine to ensure he didnt have any heart issues. Dr Srinath Reddy, PV Narasimha Rao’s doctor shared on how the reaction was reactive to the situation and not definetely of a man who knew what was to come. He was on phone with the various officials and anything but asleep as he watched his calculations go haywire.
Vinay Sitapati also shared the incident of how PV’s body was made to wait outside party office gates in New Delhi for official honours as was the tradition, but the gates remained closed. And the one person who could order them open chose not to do so. Evidently Sonia Gandhi did not want PV to be known as a national leader.