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Monday 6 July 2020

Shah checks in; Congress chucked out of Nehru Memorial

Amit Shah, other ministers and known pro-BJP members of civil society have replaced INC's Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Karan Singh at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society that was in the eye of a storm last year

The Narendra Modi government has reconstituted the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) Society, removing Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Karan Singh from its members and adding television journalist Rajat Sharma, adman and lyricist Prasoon Joshi and columnist and Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta to the sarkari club. The most prominent inclusions are those of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and several of his colleagues in the Modi Council of Ministers.

According to an order issued, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now the president of the society and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is its vice-president.

The members include Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, MoS in MEA and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan and MoS (IC) Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel, besides Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash, etc.

The order states that the tenure of the members is for five years or until the next order, whichever is earlier. As per the order, other members include policy researcher and author Anirban Ganguly, Member Secretary of IGNCA Sachchinanda Joshi, academic Kapil Kapoor, Vedic and Buddhist scholar Lokesh Chandra, academic Makarand Paranjpe, writer Kishore Makwana, academic Kamlesh Joshipura and researcher Rizwan Kadri.

Earlier, the Centre had appointed television journalist Arnab Goswami, former foreign secretary S Jaishankar, BJP MLA Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and IGNCA President Rambahadur Rai as members of the NMML Society. They replaced economist Nitin Desai, professor Udayan Mishra and former bureaucrat BP Singh while columnist Bhanu Pratap Mehta had resigned.

The reconstitution and restructuring of the NMML was a subject of intense debate in 2018 even though the government had decided to keep aside maximum space for first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at Teen Murti and to shrink the space for all other 13 prime ministers to half the original size. Of course, the new museum, the foundation stone for which was laid last year, for all former prime ministers at Teen Murti does not house Nehru.

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