The Vice President of India, M. Hamid Ansari has said that the good that Narasimha Rao did to the country lives after him; the harm too lives on and continues to extract a heavy toll. He was addressing the gathering after releasing the book ‘Half-Lion’ authored by Vinay Sitapati, here today.
The Vice President said that the ‘diligently researched’ book is a useful contribution to our knowledge of that period. Congratulating the author, the Vice President said that Shri Sitapati had the advantage of having access to the personal papers of Narasimha Rao including information or assessments on situations and personalities given to him by the Intelligence Bureau. Some may enquire if the Oath of Secrecy and the Official Secrets Act extends to the grave and beyond, he added.
The Vice President said that the country, and the world, acknowledges Narasimha Rao’s role as the initiator for change in basic economic policies. On external affairs, his success “was due to cultivated expertise” as he made realistic assessment of the shifts in global power patterns and adjusted policy to India’s immediate requirements, he added.
The Vice President said that two sections of the book would invite commentary – these relate to the management of Parliament and to the demolition of Babri Masjid. During the trust vote of July 26, 1992, survival at all cost was the government’s objective and unethical tactics were resorted to; these were eventually also found to be beyond the pale of law, he added. On the demolition of Babri Masjid, the Vice President quoted the author’s assessment – ‘Rao wanted to protect the mosque and protect Hindu sentiments and protect himself. He ended up with the mosque destroyed, Hindus un-attracted to the Congress, and his own reputation in tatters.’