New Delhi, Oct. 30: Here’s something Narendra Modi can look up, just in case he needs more info on the man he thinks shouldn’t have been independent India’s first Prime Minister.
The government is planning to set up a portal that will have copies of Jawaharlal Nehru’s letters, audio clips and videos.
The Nehru portal is part of a blueprint the Centre is preparing to celebrate Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary next year, a commemoration that would emphasise his contribution to nation building.
Modi, the BJP’s mascot for the 2014 elections, had yesterday said the country missed a chance to change its destiny when Sardar Patel could not become India’s first Prime Minister.
“Every Indian still regrets that he (Patel) did not become the first Prime Minister. Had he been the first Prime Minister, the country’s destiny would have been different,” the Gujarat leader had said at an event in Ahmedabad to open a museum on Sardar Patel.
The year-long celebrations, that could include seminars, releasing commemorative stamps or funding research, will kick in next year from November 14, Nehru’s birthday. As a first step, a national committee chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be formed to decide the roadmap ahead.
About a week ago, the culture ministry, headed by Chandresh Kumari Katoch, had forwarded nearly 20 names to the Prime Minister’s Office. The list includes UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union ministers Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, P. Chidambaram, A.K. Anthony and Manish Tewari.
Congress leader Karan Singh, historian Ramachandra Guha, sociologist Andre Beteille and former Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi also figure on the list.
The committee will decide the budget. If the budget is below Rs 300 crore, it would not need cabinet approval. It can be cleared by the expenditure finance committee under the finance ministry.
The UPA government has, however, only six months left to clear bureaucratic hurdles and finalise the budget before the code of conduct for the summer general election kicks in.
“All efforts are towards clearing the plan at the earliest,” said a senior official.