PM Rao an astute and caring leader

ALTHOUGH the recent riots have revealed the extent of communal divisions in existence in India it has also demonstrated the political acumen and shrewdness of Prime Minister Rao.

In a country the size of India, people die every day of unnatural causes and the recent 1,200 or so deaths from the communal flare-up, tragic as they are, do not in any way show that India has slipped into a state of anarchy.

Communal disharmony is an age-old problem which Indians have learnt to live with and the recent riots are in a long line of similar happenings.

The astute handling of a delicate situation like this by Mr Rao speaks volumes about his genius as an administrator and a caring politician.

With one stroke of his pen he dismantled three BJP-led governments in three key states, barred a number of extremist organisations, put top BJP leaders behind bars, and was able to restore, to varying degrees, confidence among the minorities.

His promise to build a mosque and a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya should be a confidence builder among Muslims and Hindus alike.

All this has been achieved by adopting a low-key approach, a typical Rao tactic.

No other Prime Minister, before him, has been able to achieve so much in so short a time, on such a touchy issue as this.

His recent show of strength in the Indian Parliament, where he defeated a no-confidence motion brought against his government by the opposition, amply demonstrates his widespread popularity amongst his colleagues.

People might continue to differ on the methods used to bring the situation under control and some may even criticise Mr Rao for reacting too slowly, but, at the end of the day, in my opinion, he has been able to appease most rational-minded people and success in the long-run would depend on how events unfold.