The Return of Nripendra Misra: Top NMML body has Modi imprint, all over
Nripendra Misra has been appointed as the head of the executive council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library -- the topmost decision making body of the institution.
Misra, the former principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, enjoys the PM's confidence. His power and clout was realised when last August, PM Modi, himself, took to Twitter to heap praises on him and even claimed the top Babu "guided" him.
"Shri Nripendra Misra is among the most outstanding officers, who has a great grasp of public policy and administration. When I was new to Delhi in 2014, he taught me a lot and his guidance remains extremely valuable," Modi had tweeted.
What makes the reconstitution of NMML even more interesting is the eclipse of former Union Minister M.J. Akbar, who has been accused in a Me Too case.
Akbar is being replaced by Prasad Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash as the council's Vice Chairman. The former Union minister has been in the cold ever since a slew of sexual harassment allegation hit him.
Apart from the top two, there are three members and three ex-officio members in the eight member body.
A ICCR Chairman and BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta and Academician Kapil Kapoor were made members of the body. Kapoor also head the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS).
The three ex officio members are two bureaucrats from Ministry of Culture and the NMML Director Shakti Sinha himself.
But the focus remains on Mishra, the UP Cadre Indian Administrative Service officer who went on to become Modi's "eyes and ears", as many in the government insists, and finally resigned from the post in PMO, last year.
This move is being seen as a return of India's most powerful bureaucrat under Modi. Also, Surya Prakash, who was believed to be handpicked by the PMO to head Prasad Bharati, will now co head the NMML Executive Council is also known for enjoying PM Modi's trust.
His association with the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a New Delhi-based think tank is also well known. The foundation, set up under the aegis of the Vivekananda Kendra, is backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), BJP's ideological mentor. In 2004, he edited a book, Sonia Under Scrutiny.
The January 14 NMML rejig has a clear Narendra Modi imprint all over it.
Apart from the top two, Swapan Dasgupta has been closely associated with BJP's counter-intellectual fight in West Bengal, that will go to poll next year.
Shakti Sinha too is known to have the trust of the PM, who is spearheading one of his pet projects -- the Prime Ministers' Museum. The government wishes it to counter "monopoly" of Nehru in Indian historical discourse, post Independence.
Earlier the Centre had re-constituted the NMML society when along with Congress leaders, former Union Minister M.J. Akbar too was dropped from the reconstituted Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society.
Though he continued to remain the Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of NMML, the new government notification by the Government of India has cleared his final exit.
TV Anchor Arnab Goswami too was dropped in 2019. Goswami, a prominent TV figure who created a row in 2018 with his appointment, was replaced with senior journalist Rajat Sharma.
The NMML has been embroiled in controversy. While the reconstitution bid was animatedly opposed to by Congress members, the government didn't move from its stand to "democratize" it.
Earlier, Modi wanted to establish a Prime Ministers' Museum showcasing all Prime Ministers of India which was vehemently opposed by the members of the grand old party.
When an eviction notice was sent by the Directorate of Estates of the Union Ministry of Urban Development to the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, creating a massive row.IANS