Former Prime Minister of India PV Narasimha Rao
Former Prime Minister of India PV Narasimha Rao

P.V. Narasimha Rao who was born on 28 June 1921 was an Indian lawyer and politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister of India from 1991 to 1996. When he became Prime Minister, it was politically significant as he was the second holder of this office from a non-Hindi-speaking region and the first from South India.

Here are some interesting facts about the 9th Prime Minister of India:

1. P.V. Narasimha Rao was born on 28 June 1921 in a Telugu speaking Niyogi Brahmin family.

2. P.V. Narasimha Rao was part of Vande Matram movement in the late 1930s in the Hyderabad state.

3. He 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.

4. He secured reservation for lower castes in politics during his tenure as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

5. He supported Indira Gandhi in formation of New Congress Party in 1969 by splitting the Indian National Congress.

6. Rao very nearly retired from politics in 1991. It was the assassination of the Congress President Rajiv Gandhi that persuaded him to make a comeback.

7. Narasimha Rao was married to Satyamma Rao who died on 1 July 1970. They had three sons and five daughters.

8. According to a vernacular source, despite holding many influential posts in Government, he faced many financial troubles.

9. According to P.V.R.K. Prasad, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who was Narasimha Rao's media advisor when the latter was Prime Minister, Rao asked his friends to sell away his house at Banjara Hills to clear the dues of lawyers.

10. Rao's mother tongue was Telugu and had an excellent command of Marathi. He could speak 8 Indian languages (Hindi, Oriya, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil and Urdu) and 8 foreign languages ( English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin and Persian).

11. He was also referred to as 'Chanakya' for his ability to steer tough economic and political legislation through Parliament at a time when he headed a minority government.

12. The idea of a nuclear test in India was first mooted by Narsimha Rao, though it was implemented by Atal Bihari Vyajpayee.

13. In May 1996, after the Congress Party lost the parliamentary elections by a huge margin, Rao resigned as prime minister.

14. He had laid the foundation for trade liberalisation and the re-integration of the Indian economy with the global economy.

15. 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.

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