New Delhi: A book has revealed the ways employed during 1991–1996 by the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi to keep tabs on each other after babri mosque demolition.
Book `Half-Lion: How P V Narasimha Rao Transformed India`, which will be available from June 27, cites Rao’s private papers as well as interviews with over a 100 people and makes staggering revelations.
The book says that a day after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, Rao deputed an Intelligence Bureau (IB) official at 10, Janpath, to check which Congressmen were babbling at his back.
The IB report mentioned a conversation within the bungalow: “During the course of discussions with Sonia Gandhi, Arjun Singh, Digvijay Singh, A K Jogi, Salamatullah and Ahmed Patel… reportedly expressed their unhappiness with the handling of the situation (Babri demolition) including by the Prime Minister”.
Sonia Gandhi, whose differences with Rao are an open secret, was using the Congress party to keep tabs on him.
In May 1995, Rao asked the Intelligence Bureau about how many of his Cabinet hopefuls were “pro-high command” (pro-Rao) and how many were “pro-10 Janpath”?
The IB then listed a few names and written in columns next to the name were the person’s ‘state’, ‘caste’, ‘age’, ‘loyalty’, ‘comments’, reports The Indian Express.
For instance, next to “Margaret Alva” it was written “Karnataka, Christian, 53, pro-high command, political lightweight, could be dropped if adjusted suitably in organisation otherwise Christians of Karnataka may react adversely”, next to “M S Aiyar” it was mentioned “Tamil Nadu, Brahmin, 52, pro-10 Janpath, was critical of handling of Ayodhya issue by the PM. Took care of party interests in JPC on bank scam.”
The list also mentioned the names of leaders to be pondered over for “appointment to organisational posts”, for example “Sharad Pawar… Maharashtra, Maratha, doubtful, a good organiser and influential leader. Could prove useful”.
During his tenure, Rao never permitted Sonia or those close to her to influence his government’s policies. However, he failed in his management of Sonia Gandhi after he quit the PM post.