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December 23, 2004
New Delhi

Prime Minister condoles demise of P.V Narasimha Rao

"I have received with deep sadness the news of the passing away of Shri P.V Narasimha Raoji. It is a personal loss for me. I sincerely valued his guidance, his advice, his support and his friendship. He was generous to a fault in extending each of these to me with grace and affection. Raoji was a true patriot, a nationalist to the core, a visionary, a statesman, a builder, a reformer and, without doubt, a statesman. Our country was fortunate that at a time when it was gripped by great national sorrow and a grave tragedy, on the one hand, and a serious economic crisis, on the other, it was able to reach out to an elder statesman like Shri Rao and place the destiny of this nation in his hands. He will forever be remembered as the father of economic reforms in India. I could do whatever I was able to as the Finance Minister because of his unstinted support and co-operation.

Shri Rao was schooled in politics in the anti-Nizam struggles of the erstwhile Hyderabad State. His politics acquired a spiritual tinge under the guidance of Swami Ramananda Thirth, his guru and patron saint to whom he was totally devoted to the very end. His contribution to public life was first seen in his modernisation of the educational system and the endowments administration in Andhra Pradesh. As chief minister, he was deeply committed to land reforms and to the unity, integrity and development of Andhra Pradesh. His contribution to national development was felt both in the work of human resources development ministry and in the external affairs ministry.

Shri Rao was a unique phenomenon in Indian politics. Apart from Panditji, there have been few others in political life who were so well read. He was a man of letters, a poly-linguist and a writer. I join the nation in paying tribute to his departed soul".

The Prime Minister has nominated Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office to be the Minister in Attendance for assisting the family members of Late Shri P.V Narasimha Rao, in all arrangements related to the funeral.