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Unfortunate, says Congress; attempt to democratise cultural spaces: BJP

Congress has termed the removal of partymen Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Karan Singh from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library society ‘unfortunate’. BJP called the move an attempt to ‘democratise cultural spaces’.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 07, 2019, 09.26 AM IST
Anything Nehru, they feel, is their monopoly, said BL Santhosh.
NEW DELHI: Congress has termed the removal of partymen Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Karan Singh from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library society ‘unfortunate’. BJP called the move an attempt to ‘democratise cultural spaces’.

Ramesh said it was a “proof that government had regard for neither scholarship nor professionalism”. Kharge said: “It’s unfortunate. Government wants its own people in the panel.”

Singh said the move was “bigoted and narrow-minded. It is shocking and shows a negative mindset that everybody associated with an institution dedicated to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has been removed. It takes years to build an organisation but very little to destroy it”. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said the government won’t be able to do away with Nehru’s legacy by such petty steps.

Anirban Ganguly, director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation and one of the new NMML appointees, said: “Karan Singh completed his term as ICCR president and BHU chancellor. He was re-appointed as chairman of Auroville Foundation with Cabinet rank by the Modi government. " " If he was so concerned about Nehru's legacy and so sure that Modi government is out destroy it he should should have resigned from all posts that he continued holding," Ganguly added

BJP’s national organising secretary BL Santhosh tweeted: “Need to dig out details about the left out persons stepping into library anytime other than meetings which of course carries perks. The NMML rejig is being criticised by Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. Someone needs to ask him the location of library. Anything Nehru they feel it is their monopoly.”

According to official sources, the Centre is planning to completely overhaul the museums in Delhi, making them experiential and technologically-driven. Separating the development of cultural spaces from the ministry , the centre had recently appointed former cultural secretary Raghavendra Singh to monitor the revamp of Museums projects. The project for all PMs that the BJP sees as an important, political move was supposed to be completed by October 2020, is running behind schedule. Sources said the appointment of Singh was made so that the project could be executed directly under the watch of the PMO.

Apart from Ganguly, the new members at the NMML society include lyricist Prasoon Joshi, Sachchinanda Joshi, Member Secretary, IGNCA, academic Kapil Kapoor, Lokesh Chandra, Vedic and Buddhist scholar, author and academic Makarand Pranjpe, journalist Rajat Sharma, researcher Rizwan Kadri, along with ICCR head Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and IGNCA head Rambahadur Rai.

Two of PM Narendra Modi's old associates, writer and activist Kishore Makwana who has compiled PM's writings on caste and Kamlesh Joshipura, professor, Saurashtra University have also been inducted. Joshipura told ET that he would like the society to focus on making the NMML accessible to all, and present the stories of all leaders, particularly those such as Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

The centre has also dropped Nayanjot Lahiri, professor of history at Ashoka University, who had in the past raised concerns over changes in the structure of the NMML. TV anchor Arnab Goswami who was inducted only a few months ago into the society has been dropped too. The party has also dropped former minister MJ Akbar from the society. Akbar who was accused by over 15 women for sexual harassment when he was a journalist is fighting the case in court.

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