BJP praises PVN Rao to highlight Cong limits

 The BJP on Saturday showered praises on former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao for bringing economic reforms that was not the natural choice of his party, attempting to throw the spotlight on a Congress leader who did not belong to Gandhi family. 

Comparing Rao’s regime with that of the NDA, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said it was easier for Atal Bihari Vajpayee to usher in the next round of privatisation that gave a push to the country’s economy since the whole party was behind him, but that was not the case with Rao.

He also drew parallel between Rao's decisive stand on reforms and the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's strong leadership in Gujarat.

Speaking at the launch of the book “ModiNomics”, which focuses on economic policies Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi pursued in his state, the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said recent history was not effusive with its praise for Rao, credited with bringing a “good turning point” in the country after the 1970s and 80s were “wasted” by reducing government control through  economic reforms.

Jaitley said, “For Vajpayee as a BJP prime minister to move ahead with reforms was relatively easier because it was a natural part of his party's ideological thinking, than for a man (Rao) who belonged to a party (Congress) which did believe in regulation to break the trend.”  Modi was scheduled to launch the book by Sameer Kochhar, but skipped the function at Delhi's India Habitat Centre on Saturday afternoon. Without giving any reason, he tweeted, “Unfortunately, would not be able to join book release programme of 'ModiNomics'. My best wishes to the author & the programme.”

Without naming Manmohan Singh, Jaitley also said, “India cannot afford a non-politician as prime minister. The world's largest democracy can't be run by chief executives. They are good to run companies.” The BJP’s compliment to Rao lends some support to former Union minister K Natwar Singh’s assertion two days earlier that Rao felt “insulted” by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who then was not satisfied with what she believed was slow trial of her husband Rajiv Gandhi's killers.

The BJP had also tried to appropriate Sardar Patel's political legacy while playing up differences between him and former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

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