The Centre’s Narendra Modi government has reportedly appointed Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami as one of the three new members of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library in New Delhi. Goswami’s appointment comes two years after the government had stunned all by appointing another pro-BJP journalist Swapan Das Gupta, who was later elected to the Rajya Sabha as an MP.
Goswami’s appointment came after the government decided to remove economist Nitin Desai, professor Udayan Mishra and former bureaucrat BP Singh. A report by the Economic Times had said that the sacked three members had been known to criticise the government openly, particularly on the issue of the museum for all PMs taking shape in NMML.
Desai had opposed the idea of a new museum for all PMs at Teen Murti Bhawan, stating that ‘NMML was established for the very fine purpose of academic excellence and should preserve its character.’
This is the order from the culture ministry approving the changes pic.twitter.com/toINiKTQul
— Vasudha Venugopal (@vasudha_ET) November 2, 2018
Along with Goswami, foreign secretary S Jaishanker, BJP MP and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, and chairman of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Ram Bahadur Rai too have been included in the NMML society to replace the sacked members.
Goswami, who founded Republic TV with the help of BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has often come under fire for pushing the Hindutva agenda through his channel. Seldom has he or his channel grilled the saffron party on issues of corruption in governance.
Goswami and two others will function as members of the NMML society till 26 April 2020. The notification about their appointment was issued on 29 October by the ministry of culture last month.
NMML society had become a centre of attention soon after Narendra Modi became the prime minister in May 2014. In 2015, Mahesh Rangarajan, who was appointed as the NMML Director by the previous UPA regime, resigned after union culture minister Mahesh Sharma objected to his appointment calling it ‘unethical and illegal.’
In 2016, renowned political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta too quit as a member of its Executive Council allegedly over shortlisting of Shakti Sinha, who had served as private secretary to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The NMML is a part of the Teen Murti Bhavan in Delhi, which was the home of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Last month, on 16 October, the central government had laid the foundation in the backyard of the 25-acre estate to build a museum of all his successors.
In August this year, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had written a hard-hitting letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi warning him on the Centre’s plans to set up a national museum for all prime ministers in the Teen Murti Bhawan complex in Delhi.