'Accepted TRS offer to fight MLC poll to serve people'

Accepted TRS offer to contest MLC poll to serve people: Narasimha Rao's daughter Vani Devi

TRS Supremo and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao hands over the B-Form of party candidature from Hyderabad-Ranga Reddy-Mahbubnagar Graduates MLC constituency to Surabhi Vani Devi, daughter of former Prime Minister late P.V. Narasimha Rao, in Hyderabad. Credit: PTI Photo

The decision of the ruling TRS in Telangana to give an MLC ticket to daughter of former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao has come as a surprise given the Congress roots of her father, but S Vani Devi asserts she has been apolitical and accepted the offer only to serve people.

While declining to dwell into Congress leadership not giving her father the due recognition especially after his demise, she, however, said it was TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who took up birth centenary celebrations of him in a grand manner in June last year.

An educationist, the 69-year old noted she has been 'apolitical' and her career was focussed in the fields of education and art.

"Whenever I get an opportunity, it is a good thing. Serving the nation, it is a good thing. I can work for more people," she told P T I.

Vani Devi said she accepted the offer to contest the coming Telangana Legislative Council biennial election on TRS ticket to serve people through a bigger platform though her father, a native of Telangana and credited with ushering in economic reforms way back in 1990s, was a life-long Congressman.

The TRS has fielded Vani Devi as its candidate in the March 14 election to the Legislative Council from Mahabubnagar-Rangareddy-Hyderabad Graduates' constituency.

She saw serving as an MLC as an appropriate area for her, having worked in the education sector for about 35 years.

Serving people was a quality she inherited from her illustrious father, who steered the Congress government from 1991 to 1996 at a critical juncture, she added.

Vani Devi worked as a lecturer and founded academic institutions, besides being an acclaimed artist.

On the criticism against the Congress over the way it treated Narasimha Rao, Vani Devi, who used to accompany her father during his overseas trips as prime minister, said she was not interested in talking about politics and parties.

"We are not interested in criticising anybody, any party. But, the treatment, in spite of his commitment, dedication, service, loyalty, what answer should I give. The world knows.

"Those who behaved like that, it is better if they are asked. They know the reason. I don't know. Because, I am not in the picture," she said.

Congress has often come under attack for not acknowledging Narasimha Rao's contributions publicly and allegedly not allowing his mortal remains to be placed in the AICC headquarters in New Delhi after his death.

However, the Congress also launched its own year-long birth anniversary of the former prime minister in July last year when top leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, paid rich tributes to him.

Gandhis' praise for Narasimha Rao was significant given the frosty ties that they shared after he became the prime minister in 1991. He was the first leader outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to last a full-term as Prime Minister.

Comparing her father and Chandrasekhar Rao, Vani Devi said she had observed the personalities of both.

Narasimha Rao steered the country at a critical juncture and Chandrasekhar Rao's fast helped in realising the decades-old dream of separate statehood for Telangana, she said.

"The personality (of Chandrasekhar Rao), I felt some proximity with my father. I was eager about centenary celebrations (of Narasimha Rao). I set up a small museum with his personal collections for at least our students to see. It was small. It cannot be bigger."

But, suddenly, the Chief Minister announced centenary celebrations on a large scale and thus it reached people within the country and abroad.

Noting that service of people was a subject of interest to her, she said there was no ground for her to say no to the offer of an MLC poll ticket.

Asked why she chose to contest on behalf of TRS despite her father being a Congressman, she said she had nothing to do with politics all these years, but public service is in her blood.

The centenary celebrations have been a massive event in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, while it evoked tremendous response from foreign countries, she said.

"He (CM) is doing centenary celebrations on such a large scale. Other parties did not speak much.. My perspective is not to criticise anybody," she added.

On some state Congress leaders criticising the TRS move to field her in the MLC election when it could have nominated her as an MLC under the Governor's quota if it wanted to show its respect to Narasimha Rao, Vani Devi said her father did not favour nominated posts.

"I will fight. I will go to the public. With their acceptance only, I will go to (reach) any place (as a public representative)," she said, but hastened to add she did not find fault with nominated posts.

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