Narendra Modi-headed panel on Nehru's anniversary reconstituted, none from Gandhi family in it

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 19 2014, 03:53am hrs
In a politically-significant move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reconstituted a government committee on commemoration of the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru which will be headed by him, replacing his predecessor Manmohan Singh.

However, it includes some Congress leaders -Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Karan Singh. But none from the Gandhi family finds a place in it.

The first meeting of the National Committee to Commemorate 125th Birth Anniversary of India's first Prime Minister will be held soon after Diwali, a PMO statement said.

Nehru's 125th birth anniversary falls on November 14 this year.

The reconstituted committee has Modi as Chairman while Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, HRD Minister Smriti Irani, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar and Culture Minister Sripad Yesso Naik will be its ex-officio members.

Azad, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Kharge, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, will be members, along with Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, former Sikkim Governor B P Singh, former Foreign Secretary M K Rasgotra and former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap.

Senior Congress leader Karan Singh and Suman Dubey, considered close to Nehru-Gandhi family, are also members of the committee along with former Cabinet Secretary Naresh Chandra.

Senior journalists Rajat Sharma, Swapan Dasgupta and M J. Akbar have also been made its members.

The Committee was set up during the previous UPA government and was headed by Manmohan Singh.

Its members were Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the then Defence Minister A K Antony, the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, the then Law Minister Kapil Sibal besides a number of scholars and academicians of repute from various Institutions.

The committee was set up to ensure that the anniversary is celebrated in a befitting manner as a tribute to the great leader and an architect of modern India.

The move by the government to revive the initiative of the former UPA regime assumes significance as Congress has been accusing Modi of erasing Nehru's legacy, particularly by virtually making defunct the Planning Commission.

Congress, on its part, has set up a committee at party level for the celebrations.

Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has been made Chairperson of the committee. Former Union Minister Mukul Wasnik is convener of five-member group which also has Anand Sharma, Mohan Gopal and Jairam Ramesh.