PV son flays comments made by Arjun Singh

Hyderabad: P V Narasimha Rao`s son Ranga Rao today criticised the comments made by late Arjun Singh against his father in a book, which said the former Prime Minister was opposed to Sonia Gandhi.

He was also very critical of the book written by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, which blamed late Rao for the demolition of Babri mosque on the basis of a reported claim by socialist leader Madhu Limaye.

Lamenting that "vested interests" were trying to spew venom at his late father, P V Ranga Rao said the former Prime Minister`s family was "very unhappy and sad" about it. "What is being written in these books is not fair to father. We don`t expect such things about a person who is no more," Ranga Rao said.

"How can anyone talk something ill about a person who is no more…a person who cannot defend himself?," Rao said reacting to the claims made in late Congress leader Arjun`s soon-to-be-released posthumous autobiography `A Grain of Sand in the Hourglass of Time`.

In the book, Singh had quoted P V Narasimha Rao as saying, "Why should Congress party be hitched to the Nehru-Gandhi family like train compartments to the engine" when a suggestion was made that Sonia be made Congress chief after the assassination of her husband Rajiv Gandhi in May, 1991.

Ranga Rao, who is an MLC, countered the claim saying his father always remained "very loyal" to the Nehru-Gandhi family and in fact was the first person to take Sonia`s name for the post of the Prime Minister after Rajiv Gandhi`s death.

"Father himself wanted Sonia to lead the party and become Prime Minister. But she declined," he recalled.

Ranga Rao also trashed as "unbelievable and untenable" the contention in Nayar`s soon-to-be released autobiography "Beyond the Lines" that Narasimha Rao "connived with saffron forces" to let the Babri structure demolished, a reported claim by Limaye.

Describing his father as a "philosopher", Rao recalled that the former took to meditation for "solution and solace" in any crisis situation and asserted his father`s silence at that time is being "misinterpreted".

In his book, Nayar has said, "My information was that Rao had connived at the demolition. He sat at puja when the kar sevaks began pulling down the mosque and rose only when the last stone had been removed"

"Madhu Limaye (late socialist leader) later told me that during the puja, Rao`s aide whispered in his ears that the masjid had been demolished. Within seconds, the puja was over".

Rejecting the contention, Ranga Rao said, "There is no way father would have done so. He was in anguish when the Babri structure was demolished for he loved Muslims for years and was their ardent supporter.He told us many times that it should not have happened".

He added, "When human efforts fail, anyone would talk to God and father too would have done that. His silence (at the time of Babri incident) is being misinterpreted. Babri was a serious occurrence and father was very anguished".

Stating that he had respect for the veteran journalist, Ranga Rao recalled that Nayar was the first reporter to break the news of the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri`s death in Tashkent. "I don`t think Nayar could write such things," he said.