NEW DELHI: The Central government has replaced three members of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) society, accepted the resignation of another, and approved four new members.
Journalist Arnab Goswami, who was appointed to the NMML society by the latest order from the Ministry of Culture, replaces Pratap Bhanu Mehta. The order said it accepted Mehta's resignation from the membership of the NMML society.
The order, dated October 29, said that economist Nitin Desai would be replaced with former journalist and head of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts board, Ram Bahadur Rai. Academic Udayon Misra will be replaced by BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and former bureaucrat B P Singh by former foreign secretary S Jaishankar.
"The sense was that we need people who are grounded in modern Indian political history, political development, how policymaking is done at the top, how Indian democracy works at the top. The people selected, I think, meet the requirements on that," said NMML director Shakti Sinha, commenting on the new appointees.
On Goswami's appointment, Sinha said, "Arnab Goswami is an important political commentator."
According to the order, which mentions it has the "approval of the Prime Minister", the members would be nominated to the NMML society on April 26, 2020, as per the Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations of the NMML society.
Congress leader Karan Singh said the upcoming museum should not distort the legacy of Nehru.
On October 15, the Centre had laid the foundation stone for the museum for prime ministers in the Teen Murti Bhavan complex. The Congress has repeatedly expressed its displeasure over the new museum to be built inside the premises which they believe would dilute India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's legacy. The recent notification to replace the members was seen as an attempt to muzzle voices who expressed their discontent on the discourse that NMML was taking.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also written to Modi that the Teen Murti complex should be left "undisturbed as it is" in order to respect "both history and heritage". Singh had also written in that letter that there was "no attempt to change the nature and character of the NMML and the Teen Murti complex in any way" during Vajpayee's tenure.