The way events are unfolding (Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, UP), it looks as if P.V. Narasimha Rao is going to remain with us for a long time to come. Obituarists on more than one occasion have dispatched him to the political dustbin, emphasising that he is a small, weak, vision-less, ineffectual, scheming individual obsessed with merely his own survival. If you add personal corruption (Harshad Mehta?), a devotion to fraudulent godmen, maniacal suspiciousness (10 Janpath), you have a pretty formidable list of disqualifications. Yet, one cannot help but admire Mr Rao's outward calm and serenity. He doesn't seem to lose his temper, he doesn't rant and rave, he is never rude to his colleagues or even his security personnel, he seldom makes embarrassing remarks, much less puts his foot in his mouth, he actually reads serious books and close friends insist he even has a sly sense of humour.
Why then is the political class in this country so resolutely opposed to him? Why do perfectly sane Congressmen hanker after Sonia Gandhi? Even if we are currently watching Rao's last act, historians will judge PVNR much more kindly than today's leader writers and edit page pundits.