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   Different prime ministers have different styles... (July 8, 1991)

Different prime ministers have different styles of functioning. Mr. Narasimha Rao has his own, and, if I may venture an opinion, it is the best style of all.

He is as low-key as is possible for a prime minister in a country like India to be. He speaks only when spoken to, rarely appears on television, gives a limited number of interviews to newspapers and does not give stupid answers to stupid questions, does not travel, not is the country and not abroad, leaves ceremonial functions to the President and his first lady, who evidently enjoy them, does not demand excessive security, and does not put up a show of anger when it is given to him, looks upon the prime minister's post as one more in the many postings he has held, did not aspire to be a prime minister and would not regret in his stops being one, he does not give slogans to the nation, does not wish to take the country into any century…only wants to stabilise it at decent and dignified level, and he does not have hangers-on, no coterie, no friends, no kitchen cabinet, no Dhawan Saheb.

Yet he seems to know exactly what he is doing and in which direction he wants the country to move. No finance minister, or ministers for commerice and industry, could have gone about so boldly and in open definance of the rump of the party and of the bureaucracy revolutionising the economic system in the country without his full and unstinted support and backing.

Other prime ministers pale before him. Mr. Chandra Shekhar spent as much time at his farm in Bhondsi as in his office in New Delhi, or kept flying to Bombay to meet alling Morarji Desai, ailing Ramnath Goenka, ailing Russy Karanjia, ailing S.A. Dange. And he cared more for his apprearence than his performance. To be ungroomed and unkempt and to be proud of it and flaunt it is as much caring for your appreance as to be well-groomed and nattily dressed.

As for his predecessor, Mr. V.P. Singh, his threats to resign and the continuous efforts made to prevent him from doing so was the key issue of his days as the prime minister. He was the greatest disappointmentamong recent prime ministers, because the public had brought him in with such high hopes.

And, Rajiv Gandhi, he was the big spender, the prime minister who exhausted country's limited resources on festivals and tamashas, which eventually did not get us one single additional tourist. But I would not like to say more on Rajiv Gandhi. I do not believe in the theory that you should not speak ill of the dead. If there is something bad about the, you should criticise it. But you should not speak ill of those who are recently dead.

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