NEW DELHI: In its first meeting after the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections, the Union Cabinet on Saturday decided that “henceforth no government bungalow will be made available as a memorial to any person”.
The announcement was made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the briefing after the Union Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where several decisions were taken, including restructuring of the committee to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Coming in the backdrop of former Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh’s party Rashtraiya Lok Dal’s demand to convert the bungalow he was occupying as a memorial to his father former Prime Minister late Choudhury Charan Singh, the ‘no more memorials’ announcement was significant.
The RLD activists are not only forcefully occupying the bungalow, but also have been holding protests against the orders to vacate the property within the Lutyens zone.
Jaitley also announced that the Centre will take over the maintenance of Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial, as well as the celebrations on his birth and death anniversaries. These are now organised by the Raj Ghat Committee. In same vein, he added that commemoration of other leaders’ -- Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi -- will be organised by private committees and not by the government.
Also quite significantly, the committee to celebrate Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary will now be headed by Modi and a number of senior Cabinet ministers.
In an attempt broad-base the preparations for the celebrations, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge have also been included in the Committee. Even former journalist and close aide of the Gandhi family Suman Dubey has also found a place on the Committee. Member of Parliament, Maulana Mohammad Madani, has also been included in the panel.
Not a single member from the Gandhi-Nehru family is in the panel. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had resigned from the earlier Committee setup during the UPA-II tenure after the Lok Sabha poll defeat.
The new panel will hold its first meeting after Diwali. The other ex-officio members of the committee are Home Minister, External Affairs Minister, Finance Minister, HRD Minister, Culture Minister and I&B Minister. The PM has also approved the constitution of a National Implementation Committee to be chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.