Blow to Gandhis: PM Modi keeps the family out of Jawaharlal Nehru anniversary panel

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PM Narendra Modi
New Delhi, Oct 19: In a major jolt to Gandhi family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reconstituted a government committee on the commemoration of the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru and kept the family out of it. This move could be interpreted as a challenge to the Gandhi family's claim on India's first Prime Minister.
The committee headed by Modi, will also include some Congress leaders, like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Karan Singh.

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.

(With inputs from agencies)

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