| Rao: Insider’s view
Bangalore, July 29: Politician P.V. Narasimha Rao had held his tongue. As author, he is loosening it, and parties watch out.
The former Prime Minister promised a “terribly controversial” sequel to his debut novel, The Insider, which would expose the truth about political parties, including the Congress, during the ’70s and ’80s.
“The second volume will be terribly controversial. I hope no one will put me in jail for writing the book. It is expected to be published in the next five-six months. I am dealing with the culture of all political parties during those times. Without discrimination, all political parties will curse me for writing this book,” Rao said at the release of the Kannada version of The Insider.
Titled Antharadrishti, it was translated by Muttur Krishnamurthi, director of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here.
Rao said he would not spare the Congress either in his second book. “Just because I am a Congressman, there is nothing that prevents me from exposing the truth. Congressmen, please excuse me. I know you better, and you know me,” the octogenarian said.
And Rao has an axe to grind. The last Congress Prime Minister before Manmohan Singh has been in political wilderness since January 1997, when he was unceremoniously removed as the Congress leader.
In the party’s Calcutta plenary in September 1997, resolutions went to the extent of criticising him for the Babri Masjid demolition, corruption in high places and hasty economic reforms.
In the 1998 general elections, Congress president Sitaram Kesri said Rao was being denied a Lok Sabha ticket for his poor handling of the Babri issue.
Rao, once dubbed Chanakya, has not reacted, swallowing one humiliation after another. Those owing allegiance to him deserted him one by one and today, at 84, he is virtually friendless in the Congress.
In these circumstances, his “disclosure” could be extremely embarrassing for the present-day Congress leadership.
It is no secret that Rao did not have much of a comfort level with Rajiv Gandhi and the way the young and inexperienced leader courted one controversy after controversy between 1987-89.
Congress leaders must be throwing their minds back to an article in Mainstream, a Left-oriented magazine, that severely criticised the Congress leadership’s style of functioning and the alleged “flirt” with Nehruvian ideology. Though the magazine withheld the identity of the author, in Congress circles Rao was viewed as the prime suspect.
Commenting on The Insider, Rao said it was a biography of the nation and not of an individual. “As an individual, I don’t count for anything. People come and go, but it is the nation that counts. I have not made a parody of anyone. The book deals with India at different times and different situations. I have not blamed anyone, but merely expressed their points of view,” he said.
Among the leaders who felicitated Rao today were former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Union home minister Shivraj Patil, Karnataka governor T.. Chaturvedi and chief minister . Dharam Singh.
The elder statesman believes India ought to have a “thinking majority” now. “When I learnt that several think tanks were functioning in other countries, I am wondering why we are not having such entities in the interest of our country and its people. It is strange that nobody is bothered about the country going downhill. The attitude of ‘how does it matter to me'’ is puzzling. We cannot afford to have a world full of disparities and injustice,” he said.