There is little doubt that P. V. Narasimha Rao is a stalwart of Telangana who went on to occupy the highest position in the country through sheer intellect and hard work. His contributions as chief minister of united A.P and as the Prime Minister of the country laid the foundation for today's new and vibrant India. It is also established fact that PV as a brand is highly recognisable and a definite vote catcher, especially in Telangana. Often regarded as the Chanakya of modern India for his political acumen, his personality combines several images -- first, as a revolutionary working for the Hyderabad liberation movement; second, as an efficient administrator during his long political career; and, importantly, as a disruptor and challenger to the dynastic politics of the Congress party. It is this last reason that explains why the Congress party often goes out of its way to belittle his work, despite his unparalleled contribution to both party and nation.
Personalities such as PV's are not easily forgotten, however. Telangana CM KCR, with his sharp political acumen and sagacity, reminded India of the tremendous goodwill PVN still commands, when he leveraged PV's name and drew political mileage out of his goodwill. It was KCR's masterstroke to field PV's daughter as MLC candidate from Mahaboobnagar, Ranga Reddy and Hyderabad graduates' constituency last year. This move not only got TRS a much-needed resounding victory against BJP's Ramchander Rao, but, in a single stroke, turned the tables against BJP. The ripples of this victory have further been seen in the outcome of Warangal, Khammam MLC elections and subsequent Nagarjun Sagar bye-elections. This has caused the national political parties to finally wake up from their slumber and realise the potential of PV's brand image. There is also a newfound realisation, both within the country and outside, that the economic bounty, excellent foreign policy and social benefits enjoyed by the nation today are to PV's credit. All these factors explain the sudden rush to own his legacy. While the INC may have failed to cash in on their legitimate ownership of his legacy, as the saying goes -- there can never be a vacuum when it comes to a ready-made vote-catching legacy.
Attempts seem to be underway in political circles for the entry of former prime minister PV's son into active politics. Bigwigs of political parties are known to have already met him, offering him various positions, including a Rajyasabha seat. Prabhakar is, however, said to be non-committal as yet.
It is in this context that Prabhakar Rao's entry into active politics is being discussed in mainstream political circles. In addition to PV's legacy, Prabhakar Rao himself is highly versatile -- he is an engineer, an accomplished entrepreneur, an Udyog Patra awardee by President of India, a writer, an orator and, above all, has a clean track record. Although he was made a political target by PV's detractors in mid 90s, he came out clean of all controversies and was given a clean chit by all investigating agencies. More importantly, he is known to have been the man who both formulated and executed the campaign strategies for six consecutive election victories of his father and brothers (P.V. Ranga Rao and P.V. Rajeshwar Rao). People in know of things are aware of the role Prabhakar Rao played in media interactions of PV and also in executing some very sensitive issues with razor-sharp precision. PV largely depended on Prabhakar when it came to securing political support from parties to ensure smooth sailing of his minority government. Despite all these achievements, Prabhakar Rao had chosen to stay behind the scenes -- a self-effacing man, he prefers to be private.
It is only lately that people are getting to know of Prabhakar Rao's potential. Although he is said to be lukewarm to present-day politics, his well-wishers have been exerting pressure to get him to play an active role in the nation's politics. Leaders of various political parties have been approaching Prabhakar Rao with a range of offers, including a Rajya sabha seat, should he throw his weight behind their party.
Will Prabhakar Rao yield to the pressure to enter active politics in the first place? If so, which party will he choose to align with? As inscrutable as his father, Prabhakar Rao has given no hints yet. Interested onlookers can only wait and watch.
By J Gopikrishnan