New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday remembered P.V. Narasimha Rao on his 99th birth anniversary, and described the former premier as "one of India's most experienced leaders".
Addressing the nation during his 'Mann ki Baat' radio programme, Modi said: "P.V. Narasimha Rao connected with India's ethos and well-versed with western thoughts. Interested in history, literature and science. One of India's most experienced leaders."
Born on this day in 1921 Telangana's Laknepalli village, Rao, from the Congress party, was the Prime Minister from June 21, 1991 to May 16, 1996.
Paying tributes to the former Prime Minister, the Congress party tweeted: "We honour P.V. Narsimha Rao, a visionary leader who oversaw major economic transformations of the Indian economy. His contributions to the nation shall never be forgotten."
Also taking to Twitter, the Andhra Youth Congress said: "We honour Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao, the first Prime Minister to hail from south on his birth anniversary.
"He revolutionalised the Indian economy by courageously adopting modern policies and energised the national nuclear security and ballistic missiles program."
Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who held the Commerce portfolio in the Rao government, tweeted: "He was the person who boldly pulled India out of an outdated mindset and put the country firmly on the path of becoming a prosperous and self-reliant nation.
"He had his friends, adversaries and critics, but no one can doubt his historic contribution to India.
"If it were in my power I would name a University (existing or new) after P.V. Narasimha Rao to focus on the study of the old PPE -- Politics, Philosophy and Economics -- subjects in which the former Prime Minister was a scholar and practitioner."
Rao ran a minority government which was mired in controversy.
In 1992, he was blamed for the demolition of the Babri Masjid and not doing enough to save the disputed structure.
During the last few years before he died in 2004, his relation with the Congress went downhill after Sonia Gandhi took over as party president and he was eventually sidelined.
Rao's term as Home Minister was also mired in controversy when he was also blamed for the 1984 Sikh riots in Delhi.