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 Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao (1921 - 2004)
Rao was born in an agrarian family in Karmnagar district of Andra Pardesh. Rao studied at Osmania University in Hyderabad and at Bombay and Nagpur universities, earning the degrees of Bachelor of Science and bachelor of laws. He entered politics as a Congress Party activist working for independence from Britain. He served in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly from 1957 to 1977, supporting Indira Gandhi in her split from the Congress Party organization in 1969. He held various ministerial positions in the Andhra Pradesh government from 1962 to 1973, including that of chief minister, or governor, from 1971. In this latter post he implemented a revolutionary land-reform policy and secured political participation for the lower castes. He was elected to represent Andhra Pradesh districts in the Lok Sabha.
Under Gandhi and her son and successor, Rajiv Gandhi served in various ministries, notably as foreign minister (1980-84, 1988-89). Besides his political career, Rao was known as a distinguished scholar-intellectual who once was chairman of the Telugu Academy in Andhra Pradesh (1968-74). He could speak in six languages, translated Hindi verses and books, and wrote fiction in Hindi, Marathi, and Telegu.
After Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in May 1991, the Congress (I) Party chose Rao as its leader and he became India's ninth prime minister after the general elections in June. Rao almost immediately began efforts to restructure India's economy by converting the inefficient quasi-socialist structure left by Jawaharlal Nehru and the Gandhi's into a free-market system. His program involved cutting government regulation and red tape, abandoning subsidies and fixed prices, and privatizing state-run industries.

Rao stepped down as Prime Minister in May 1996 after the Congress (I) Party was soundly defeated in parliamentary elections. Rao was known for his dithering decisions, his suave and sophisticated exterior hides a tough inner personality.
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