New Delhi: Former prime minister PV Narsimha Rao on Sunday found a surprise mention in Congress president Sonia Gandhi`s address to the party Plenary, which
also marks completion of 125 years of its formation.
Lauding the initiatives taken by Congress Prime Ministers in the past, the Congress President said, "PV Narsimha Rao gave fresh impetus to the process of economic reforms".
This was unlike in December last year, when Gandhi had praised contributions of all Congress Prime ministers except Rao in her speech during the foundation stone-laying function of the Congress headquarters here to mark the commencement of the 125 years of the party`s foundation.
That time making no mention of Rao in her 15-minute speech, she had said that Rajiv Gandhi scripted the course of economic policies that were followed by the government (headed by Rao) for the following five years.
"Rajiv did not stay with us to see his dreams being realised but we can see his stamp in the party manifesto for 1991 elections. That became the basis for economic policies
for the next five years. These policies gave a new direction and strength to our economy and our society," she had said at that time.
Incidentally, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was finance minister in the Rao government that was in office from 1991 and 1996 and he is credited with initiating the path-breaking reforms with the backing of Rao.
Rao has remained a controversial figure in Congress politics and the late Sitaram Kesri, whom he had made the party chief in 1996-97, had denied him a Lok Sabha ticket
charging him with failure to protect the Babri Masjid.
During the campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls last time, Rahul Gandhi had remarked that if any one from his family was at the helm of affairs at the Centre, the
Masjid would not have been demolished.