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Row over Renaming Nehru Museum: Congress Decries “Petty Act,” BJP Labels it “Political Indigestion”

Date: June 17, 2023

In a recent development, a heated exchange of words has erupted between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the decision to rename the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society (NMML) in New Delhi. The Ministry of Culture had announced its intention to rename the institution to the Prime Ministers’ Museum and Library Society, which has drawn strong reactions from Congress leaders.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge denounced the move as a “petty act,” expressing his disapproval of the BJP’s decision and accusing them of having a low mentality and dictatorial attitude. Kharge emphasized that the immense contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India and architect of modern India, cannot be diminished by such actions.

Congress general secretary in charge of communications, Jairam Ramesh, criticized the renaming as an act of pettiness and vengeance on the part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ramesh emphasized the historical significance of the NMML as a global intellectual landmark and treasure trove of books and archives. He accused Modi of distorting, disparaging, and destroying Nehru’s name and legacy, calling him a small-minded individual burdened by insecurities.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor suggested an alternative approach, proposing that the institution could have been renamed the “Nehru Memorial Prime Ministers’ Museum” to be more inclusive and respectful of the past. Tharoor argued that today’s rulers will eventually become part of history themselves and should strive for the respect they deny their predecessors.

Congress MP Manish Tewari criticized the government’s decision, asserting that legacies cannot be erased simply by renaming buildings.

In response to the Congress’s criticism, the BJP launched a counteroffensive, dismissing the outrage as a classic example of political indigestion. BJP President JP Nadda took to Twitter to emphasize that the PM Sangrahalaya (Prime Ministers’ Museum) initiative aims to honor leaders who have served and built the nation beyond one political dynasty. Nadda argued that Congress lacks the vision to comprehend this objective.

BJP MP Neeraj Shekhar, son of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, criticized the Congress for its negative attitude, citing his father’s commitment to national interest even when working with the Congress. Shekhar expressed disappointment that the Congress fails to look beyond one dynasty and becomes agitated when Prime Minister Narendra Modi honors Prime Ministers from across party lines.

The renaming of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society has sparked a heated debate between Congress and BJP, highlighting the contrasting perspectives on the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru and the role of institutions in preserving historical memory. The dispute reflects the ongoing political rivalry between the two parties, as they continue to clash over ideological and historical narratives in Indian politics.

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