P. V. Narasimha Rao, the first South Indian to become Prime Minister of India and architect of India’s economic liberalisation, has been recommended by the A. P. Government for posthumous award of Bharat Ratna,

The recommendation for giving India’s highest civilian award to PV was recently sent by the State Government to the Centre for announcement on the eve of Republic Day this year.

Besides Narasimha Rao, the State Government recommended 36 eminent persons from various fields for this year’s ‘Padma’ awards.

It is no coincidence that the recommendation for honouring PV, a polyglot, multi-faceted personality and a philosopher-statesman, comes at a time when the State is amidst a serious political crisis caused by the Centre’s decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh. A leader who hails from Telangana region, PV had served as Chief Minister and remained a staunch integrationist when the ‘Jai Andhra’ movement was at its peak in 1971-72. He never got due recognition from the people of his own State though he is credited with turning around India’s economy at a very critical stage and averting the international borrowings default in 1991.

Among those whose names figured for various Padma awards from Padma Vibhushan to Padma Shri, are Dr. G. Nageswar Reddy, a gastroenterologist, Dr. Mohana Vamsi, oncologist, Dasaratharami Reddy, orthopaedic surgeon, P. Ranganathan, neurosurgeon, Dr. Jayaprada, flautist, Srinivasa Raju, a Yakshagana artist, Alekhya Punjala, classical dancer, and Umarani Padmanabhan, social worker, among others.

Sources said that the list was sent to the Centre in November and the Home Ministry short-listed the names on Friday evening for forwarding to the Prime Minister’s Office. The final list would be sent to the President.

Meanwhile, those keenly awaiting the announcement of Padma awards point out that several eminent and veteran artistes in the State had been ignored by the State Government while sending its recommendations to the Centre. Septuagenarian R. Balaswaraswati, the first playback singer in Telugu films, Dasarathi Rangacharya, renowned poet and novelist, were among them.