Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman must be totally flustered by her husband (estranged ?) Parakala Prabhakar’s article on India’s current economic scenario, clearly stating that the Indian economy is totally mismanaged. In his article in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper, he urges the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to follow the pattern formulated by former Prime Ministers P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. While the article is worth reading, as Finance Minister’s husband or estranged husband, Prabhakar could have avoided embarrassing his wife Nirmala and her party, the BJP. One is reminded of the Hindi saying, Khaya nahin piya nahin, glass toda (खाया नहीं पीया नहीं गिलास तोड़ा)!
Who is Parakala Prabhakar?
Parakala Prabhakar (60) was Congress students’ wing National Student Union’s (NSUI) Unit President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 1983. He fell in love with Nirmala Sitaraman who also landed in the University to pursue her MPhil studies. Those days’ he was one of the backroom boys of the powerful Union Minister P V Narasimha Rao. His father was a Minister for 20 years in Congress Governments in Andhra Pradesh and his mother was a many-time Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Congress. Prabhakar was elevated as the National Vice President of NSUI till he left for London with wife Nirmala in 1986 to pursue studies in the London School of Economics (LSE). He completed his Doctorate studies and returned back to India in 1991 when his mentor Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minister and was Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Youth Development. Later, in 1994 & 1996, he contested the AP Assembly elections as a Congress candidate and lost. In 1997, he joined the BJP and contested from the Narasapur Lok Sabha Constituency in 1998 and lost there too. He also lost a Vidhan Sabha election in 2006. He was a spokesperson of BJP’s Andhra Pradesh unit for some time.
Rise of Nirmala Sitharaman
Meanwhile in 2003, during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-1 regime, his wife Nirmala Sitharaman was posted as a Member in the National Women’s Commission. In 2008, Parakala Prabhakar joined film star Chiranjeevi-floated political outfit Prajarajyam Party and soon after, he joined the Telugu Desam Party. Meanwhile, Nirmala was sighted around the BJP’s Delhi Headquarters as the former Prime Minister Vajpayee’s “official biographer” in late 2009. She could always be seen in Arun Jaitley’s office and by early 2010, she became an official spokesperson of the BJP. The rest, as they say, is history and we have seen the meteoric rise of Nirmala with the blessings of her Godfather, the late Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
When BJP came back to power in 2014 at the Centre, Nirmala became a Union Minister and her estranged husband Parakala Prabhakar became the NDA-ally, Naidu Government’s Communication Advisor with a Cabinet Minister Rank. Eyebrows were raised when a National War Memorial contract of around Rs.250 crores was given to a Hyderabad based company NCC Ltd (earlier Nagarjuna Constructions) when Nirmala Sitharaman was the Defence Minister. After the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) left the BJP alliance due to allegations raised by Jagan Mohan Reddy, Parakala resigned from the Communication Advisor’s post.
Many say that for the past 6-7 years, husband and wife are estranged and are seen only in photo opportunities. As a happily married person, I can vouch for this – no husband would dare write such an article, estranged or not.
Back to the article
Now back to Parakala Prabhakar’s awkward article about his wife, and the BJP Government. The article headline says the country’s economy needs a lodestar. What did he mean by that? His article in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper (interestingly their daughter Vangmayi Parakala also works in ‘The Hindu’ as a journalist in the Delhi Bureau) is in poor taste as it shows not only his wife the Finance Minister but also her party the BJP and the Government which is facing criticism on its performance on the economic front, in poor light.
Some say Parakala Prabhakar also has freedom of expression. Yes, he does, but it is unfair to use it at the expense of his wife, who is the Finance Minister. An avoidable namby-pamby article which may have caused more damage to the already beleaguered FM.
 A lodestar to steer the economy – Oct 14, 2019, The Hindu
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[…] Husband embarrasses Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP and the Government – Oct 15, 2019, […]
The article should be seen for the merit of its content, not the motive. If the merits of the writers arguments are compelling, then as a writer he is doing his job, irrespective of the agenda behind it. It’s probably no secret that the BJP and the current finance minister is somewhat clueless about the economy.
I disagree with Sree Iyer’s assessment on Nirmala Seetharaman’s husband’s article. In fact, the revelation that Seetharaman is a Jaitley mentee is Like waving a red flag to a bull – now I don’t expect anything from her either. The Narasimhan Rao-Manmohan duo acted on Dr. Swamy’s roadmap and delivered on liberalization – nothing Nehruvian about it. So I may agree with Seetharaman’s husband’s views, especially now that I learn that he was with Narasimha Rao earlier. And the fact that they may be separated or married is irrelevant in the context of discussion on the national economy.
Seriously? Cannot fathom what is the significance of this article by Mr.Sree Iyer! I read the original article in The Hindu and it is pretty straightforward and no attacks on the FM. Not sure what Sree Iyer has got against the FM that he has retorted to personal mudslinging. While it’s okay for Sree Iyer to criticize the BJP for its economic policies, why cannot another private citizen criticize the government? Just because his wife is the FM there is no need to sing praises of the gross mismanagement this government has done on the economic front. Shocking piece by the founder of Pgurus on whom I have so much respect otherwise.
I lose respect for Sree Iyer whenever I read such articles. Absolutely NO comment on the substance of the article; rather a Page 3 piece in marital status. I expect Pguris to point out what the article has got wrong rather than focus on the Author! This just reinforces the argument that our beloved BJP is in denial over the economic slowdown and would prefer to focus on the message bearer. Shri Modi has won a historic second term so why are we still playing apologists??? Also why is the BJP becoming the Congress; prime example being Jay Shahs elevation to BCCI Treasurer. Didn’t anyone in the BJP realise the bad optics and forget that why??? I mean he has no background in cricke, in fact I read he is not even a member of the GCA who nominated him.
The trajectory of Parakala Prabhakar’s life and career as given by you, seems evidence enough of a serial failure and an embittered and disappointed man. It is also evidence of certain publications like The Hindu to pick up the obscure rantings of such men and publish it as part of their dirty tricks Dept. [Dear Hindu, your founders must be turning in their graves!]
No doubt Ms.Sitaraman has still not been forgiven for being a woman in a man’s world. Is it the case that the hoary Finance Ministry has not been manned by moron men earlier? After all, it’s the men running the financial affairs of this country for 70 years who have kept us behind several decades and even sold the nation down the line! Or would the obscure rantings of a wife be published with such alacrity?
problem of clouded vision. One need to see and understand impact of trade war between US and China and how it impacts China consumption of various materials, components etc. Until we see stability in the fight between these two, market will not be ready to take growth and development trajectory.
He is probably jealous that his wife is a minister and a high profile one at that. He remains what he is , a party hopper trying for better opportunities. The scumbag who lets down his own wife is no Man but a Eunuch
The BJP has no economic agenda. Only Hindutva and promoting the RSS
One does not need a Prabhakar to write NB about it.
May be a sadistic pleasure for his bloated ego or an act of distraction to save FM from further ignominy. Pray she goes tough when going gets tough.
Why should this be surprising? We have Kellyanne and George Conway in the US. It’s ok for him to do that, estranged or not. The paper is the only way for him to express himself and get a good cushy job with the Congress party. As for the Govt., they should start thinking out of the hat and bring solutions on the table. Things will start improving when the world economic situation improves.
Many tx for posting such detailed info and back ground of Shri Prabhakar. His move – so many times – from one party to another, reveal a lot about him. One thing for sure, most probably, he was unknown on the Indian Scene ( may be known to some or a few in AP). Now, tx to Hindu, more know him as Nirmala Sitaraman’s husband. ) Also, recall, how Yeshwant Sinha was working against his own son Jayant Sinha !
Power, for some go mental, apparently!
I am not surprised that an article criticizing this governments work was published in Hindu. That newspaper publishes more anti India and Anti Hindu articles and it is time they change the newspapers name to the Missionaries Mouthpiece.