Govt drops Akbar from NMML Society, to recast executive body

MJ Akbar

New Delhi: It’s not just Congress leaders, but former Union Minister M.J. Akbar too has been dropped from the reconstituted Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society. Though he continues to remain the Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of NMML, sources say, it too will be reconstituted soon.

It has sparked speculation about government’s possible plan to disassociate itself from Akbar, who has faced multiple sexual harassment allegations, drawing bad press.

Akbar had retained his post of Vice Chairmanship of the Executive Council, last year who had resigned from the Union Cabinet on October 17 in the wake of a volley of such allegations.

He is believed to be the chief executor of revamping the Nehru Museum in the Teen Murti Estate. He has been the biographer of Jawaharlal Nehru and hence reportedly proposed a design plan for the Nehru Museum.

Prominent TV anchor Arnab Goswami, too, was dropped from the reconstituted NMML Society, which is now headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its President and Rajnath Singh as its Vice President. Goswami was appointed to this prestigious society in November last year, along with S. Jaishankar, then a former foreign Secretary, BJP lawmaker Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and IGNCA chairman Ram Bahadur Rai.

While Rai and Sahasrabudhe have retained their positions, the government has replaced Jaishankar with his junior V Muraleedharan. Sources say, Jaishankar’s preoccupation with hectic diplomatic parleys, particularly since August 5 when India abrogated Article 370, made the government take the decision.

Arnab Goswami, a prominent TV figure who created a row last year with his appointment, has been 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, PM Modi wanted to establish a Prime Minister’s Museum showcasing all Prime Ministers of India which was vehemently opposed by the members of the grand old party.

Earlier, 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.

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