Political slugfest over Nehru society rejig

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi. (PTI photo)

A political row has kicked in over the Centre reconstituting the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) Society headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Congress accusing the BJP of having a “bigoted view” and the ruling party questioning the “monopoly” of the Congress over “anything Nehru”.

In the reconstituting process, the government has removed senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Karan Singh as members and has inducted a number of BJP leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah.

Reacting sharply to it, Karan Singh called the decision “shocking” and alleged that it shows a “negative mindset and a bigoted view”.

Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed said, “dropping Congress leaders from Nehru Memorial Panel only exposes the deep insecurity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.” She also called it “political pettiness at its worst!”

The Congress reactions followed a day after the Centre issued an order effecting the changes in the key body in which it also reduced the membership from 34 to 28.

Now the body has Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as Vice President. Journalist Rajat Sharma and lyricist Prasoon Joshi have also been made its members along with a host of leaders from the BJP and eminent persons from various sectors.

While, Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel, who has also been inducted as a member, held that the controversy was “uncalled for”, Kharge alleged that the government decided this way “as they want their own people to be included in panel.”

Karan Singh was more acerbic, “those who hesitate to even take the name of Pandit Nehru, they have today taken over the society and those who live with the values of Nehru ji have been thrown out of the society.”

Hitting back, BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya said, “Dr Karan Singh should be gracious. Under Modi govt, he completed his terms as President ICCR, Chancellor BHU, Member NMML executive council.”

He further said, “(Karan Singh) was reappointed as Chairman of Auroville Foundation (Cabinet rank) with PM inaugurating its 50th year celebration. Why is he upset?”

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