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P V Narasimha Rao

P V Narasimha Rao, in full Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao (born June 28, 1921, Karimnagar, Telangana, India.

died Dec. 23, 2004, New Delhi), leader of the Congress (I) Party and prime minister of India from 1991 to 1996.

P V Narasimha Rao profile

Early life

Rao had “humble social origins”. He was born on 28 June 1921 at Lakkampally village near Narsampet in Warangal District. At the age of 3 years he was adopted and brought up to Vangara village in the present-day Karimnagar district of Telangana, then part of Hyderabad State.His father P. Ranga Rao and mother Rukminiamma hailed from agrarian families.

Rao studied at Osmania University in Hyderabad and at Bombay and Nagpur universities, eventually receiving a law degree from the latter institution. He entered politics as a Congress Party activist working for independence from Britain. He served in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly from 1957 to 1977, supporting Indira Gandhi in her split from the Congress Party organization in 1969. He held various ministerial positions in the Andhra Pradesh government from 1962 to 1973, including that of chief minister, or governor, from 1971.

Political career

Narasimha Rao was an active freedom fighter during the Indian Independence movement and joined full-time politics after independence as a member of the Indian National Congress. Narasimha Rao served brief stints in the Andhra Pradesh cabinet (1962–1971) and as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (1971–1973). His tenure as Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh is well remembered even today for his land reforms and strict implementation of land ceiling acts in Telangana region. President’s rule had to be imposed to counter the Jai Andhra movement during his tenure.

He rose to national prominence in 1972 for handling several diverse portfolios, most significantly Home, Defence and Foreign Affairs, in the cabinets of both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. In fact, it is speculated that he was in the running for the post of India’s President along with Zail Singh in 1982.

Rao very nearly retired from politics in 1991. It was the assassination of the Congress President Rajiv Gandhi that made him make a comeback. As the Congress had won the largest number of seats in the 1991 elections, he got the opportunity to head the minority government as Prime Minister. He was the first person outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to serve as Prime Minister for five continuous years, the first to hail from southern India and also the first from the state of Telangana.

Since Rao had not contested the general elections, he then participated in a by-election in Nandyal to join the parliament. Rao won from Nandyal with a victory margin of a record 5 lakh (500,000) votes and his win was recorded in the Guinness Book Of World Records. His cabinet included Sharad Pawar, himself a strong contender for the Prime Minister’s post, as Defence Minister. He also broke a convention by appointing a non-political economist and future prime minister, Manmohan Singh as his Finance Minister.

Elections fought

Narasimha Rao fought and won elections from different parts of India such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha.

# Position Took Office Left Office Institution
1 Member of Legislative Assembly 1957 1977 Manthani, Andhra Pradesh
2 Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha 1977 1980 Hanamkonda, Telangana
3 Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha 1980 1984 Hanamkonda, Telangana
4 Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha 1984 1989 Ramtek, Maharashtra
5 Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha 1989 1991 Ramtek, Maharashtra
6 Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha 1991 1996 Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh
7 Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha 1996 1998 Berhampur, Odisha


Rao suffered a heart attack on 9 December 2004, and was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he died 14 days later at the age of 83. In Delhi, his body was not allowed inside AICC building but was cremated with full state honours in Hyderabad after the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Y.S.Rajashekhar Reddy intervened. His body was kept in state at the Jubilee Hall in Hyderabad.

His funeral was attended by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the then Home Affairs Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president L.K. Advani, the then De fence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and many other dignitaries. Rao was a long-time widower and he was survived by his eight children.

The Government of Telangana declared birth anniversary celebrations of late P.V. Narasimha Rao, as State function in 2014.

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