The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-inaugurated Rs 271 crore Pradhan Mantri Sangrahalaya (in English, Museum of Prime Ministers) highlights milestones in contemporary history, covering achievements as well as the controversies during the tenures of 13 former premieres of India.
The displays in the new “high-tech” museum include audio-visual segments on the “extra-constitutional” state of emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi on 25 June 1975, the contentious Bofors deal by the Rajiv Gandhi government, and bribery allegations during his term as prime minister, the stock market scam of Harshad Mehta infamy in 1991-92 that was a “blot” on the five years of PV Narasimha Rao.
Prime Minister Modi, inaugurating the museum, made a slant reference to the state of emergency: “Except for a couple of occasions, India has had a proud tradition of strengthening democracy… It is for that reason that we also have an obligation to keep strengthening democracy with our efforts.”
The Museum of Prime Ministers, located inside the Nehru Museum building at Teen Murti Marg in Delhi, does not have any segment on the incumbent prime minister, except for an image of him at the beginning of the new block, where exhibits on 13 prime ministers, beginning with Lal Bahadur Shastri and ending at Manmohan Singh, have been put on display.
A new set of exhibits on India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru has been installed inside Block I, the original block, of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. The additions here comprise a multimedia display and gifts given to Nehru by various heads of states and dignitaries
The family members of several former prime ministers — including Shastri, Morarji Desai, Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh, HD Deve Gowda, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee — attended the inauguration but Sonia Gandhi’s family and that of Manmohan Singh appeared to have boycotted the event. Their party, the Indian National Congress, has been critical of the makeover of what they consider their legacy although the museum is run on Indian taxpayers’money.