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P. V. Narasimha Rao

Rao, P. V. Narasimha (Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao)päˌmŏləpärˈtē vĕnkätˈə näräsˈĭmhə rou, 1921–2004, Indian politician, prime minister of India (1991–96), b. Hyderabad. A poet, he was active in the Indian National Congress during the struggle for independence and thereafter. He served as a minister (1962–71) and chief minister (1971–73) in the Andhra Pradesh state government before his election to the Indian parliament in 1972. A member of the Congress-I party, he held (1980–89) several cabinet posts under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, including foreign affairs minister (1980–84).

After Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991, Rao was chosen to lead the Congress party, and when Congress won a plurality in parliament later that year Rao became prime minister. He moved decisively toward free-market reforms, reducing the government's economic role, instituting austerity measures, and encouraging foreign investment. He was often confronted by Hindu religious unrest and by opposition within his own party. In 1996 a corruption scandal rocked the government. When general elections were held in May, Rao and Congress were badly defeated, and he lost the prime ministership. He retained leadership of the Congress party until late 1996. In 2000, Rao was convicted of conspiring to buy votes in parliament prior to a 1993 no-confidence vote, but the conviction was overturned in 2002.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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