[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]P[/dropcap]rime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered a rude shock to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi by completely revamping Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA). Sonia had kept this organisation as her personal fiefdom for the past 25 years. Weeks after the assassination of husband Rajiv Gandhi in mid-1991, Sonia Gandhi entered into this prestigious government controlled organisation. She became its Life President albeit by dubious means in 1995.
The prestigious IGNCA is situated in the heart of Delhi and was established in 1987 as a trust. It was allotted a sprawling 23 acres in the area located between the Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate. Every year hundreds of crores of rupees were pumped into this organisation by the central government. The machinations of Sonia and controlling the government trust as a personal property was first exposed by the veteran journalist and a former Union Minister Arun Shourie in 1999. His famous article against Sonia’s wrong doings are available here. The piece de resistance was his characterizing of Sonia Gandhi as a modern day Dalhousie – Annexation through technicalities.
In the first NDA government, HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and Culture Minister and Sonia’s sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi took stern decisions against Sonia’s wrong doings including swindling of funds, the largesse of public money to her cronies belonging to the Left-Liberal cultural brigade. When the allegations started rocking, Sonia in 2001 resigned from the Lifetime President-ship of IGNCA and started controlling the trust through the rest of the Trust members, who were all family loyalists for decades. The Nehru dynasty bandwagon members like Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, C. R. Gharekhan were the remote controls of Sonia in controlling the cash-rich IGNCA.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]H[/dropcap]ere comes the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s hard-to-explain benevolence towards Sonia Gandhi. Not only did he not act on the expose of his colleagues Arun Shourie, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Maneka Gandhi, the former Prime Minister preferred to provide an escape route to the then Opposition Leader Sonia Gandhi. The worst affected from this was Maneka Gandhi, who was removed from Culture Ministry. Those days Maneka came out openly and said that her exit from Culture Ministry was due to the actions against Sonia. The IGNCA wrong doings against Sonia were a fit case for lodging a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act. This was very similar to the National Herald case. Sonia continued as a Life Time President by means that were bordering on the edge of legality. The Vajpayee Government did not change the structure of IGNCA and allowed Sonia to run it through her proxies.
Nehru Museum was also controlled this way by Sonia Gandhi. Within months of coming to power, the Modi government revamped it and Sonia and her retainer cultural brigade vented their anger against Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma. Many fabricated stories were planted against Mahesh Sharma in the media after the revamping of Nehru Museum. He was painted as a villain and a fascist. Till becoming a Minister, Mahesh Sharma, who is a physician running a hospital chain in city known as Kailash Hospital Group with an image of providing health services at affordable rates was portrayed as a bad man by India’s paid media.
Now a respected veteran journalist Ram Bahadur Rai has been named the Chairman of the IGNCA. Except for noted dancer Padma Subramaniam, all the other 18 Board Members are new. Narendra Modi’s unexpected action will come as a rude shock to Sonia Gandhi. Within hours, Congress reacted angrily. There was no substance in their protest, except the usual slander against Modi and RSS for capturing the organisations with Right Wing ideology people. Of course, the Delhi elites can’t tolerate a respected journalist and social activist (Ram Bahadur Rai). He was a firebrand journalist in the 70s and a key member of the Jaya Prakash (JP) movement against Indira Gandhi. He did not become a billionaire, despite being closely associated with at least four Prime Ministers – Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, VP Singh and Chandrashekar. The Younger generation might not know Ram Bahadur Rai; he was part of the 11 member co-ordination committee of JP movement against Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. He always stayed away from power circles and this might be history’s sweet revenge to bring Ram Bahadur Rai to head the organisation in the name of Indira Gandhi.
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