Swamy, Kher Ini­tially Lead Race to IGNCA Top Post

Fear of con­tro­versy and also grow­ing pro­file of the two lead­ers led to se­lec­tion of Ram Ba­hadur Rai

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: Be­fore set­tling on Ram Ba­hadur Rai to head the Indira Gandhi Na­tional Cen­tre for Arts (IGNCA), the Modi govern­ment was se­ri­ously look­ing at at least two other names for the top job there- ac­tor Anu­pam Kher and politi­cian Subra­ma­niam Swamy. Highly re­li­able sources told ET that the two names were un­der dis­cus­sion but were fi­nally de­cided against to keep off con­tro­versy and also con­sid­er­ing their grow­ing pro­file. Swamy- who has dragged the Gand­his to court over Na­tional Her­ald- was the ini­tial choice for the IGNCA job but the plan was dropped as it was felt that his ap­point­ment at the Cen­tre could lead to quite a con­tro­versy. Ac­tor Anu­pam Kher was then seen as the fron­trun­ner for the post as per sources. Kher con­firmed to ET that such an of­fer was made to him. “About a month back I had been ap­proached by some min­istry of­fi­cials in­quir­ing if I would be will­ing to take up the IGNCA po­si­tion. How­ever, I told them that that while this would be an hon­our for me, I am too busy with sev­eral other ac­tiv­i­ties ANUPAMKHER

I am in­volved in so at present I do not wish to take up any other po­si­tions”, Kher told ET

Mean­while,thereisal­soathoughtin the­gov­ern­men­tandtheBJPthatKher should be given a big­ger role and po­si­tion keep­ing in mind his strong sup­port for the BJP and the Modi govern­ment. It is learnt that op­tions such as nom­i­nat­ing him to the Ra­jya Sabha are also be­ing con­sid­ered.

Kher has spo­ken up strongly in sup­port of the govern­ment on the tol­er­ance vs anti tol­er­ance de­bate was again in news in re­cently when he made an at­tempt to reach NIT Sri­na­gar and was pre­vented from do­ing so, amid the con­tro­versy and stu­den­tun­rest­fol­low­ingIn­dia’sde­featin the cricket match against West Indies. The Modi govern­ment re- jigged the IGNCA Board of Trus­tees last week re­plac­ing Chin­may Garekhan with Rai and bring­ing in Sonal Mans­ingh, lyri­cist Pra­soon Joshi among the 19 mem­ber board. The Congress had re­acted an­grily to the change terming it an at­tempt to pack it with Congress crit­ics. IGNCA was set up in 1985 in mem­ory of the for­merPMIndi­raGand­hi­an­dis­vi­su­alised as a cen­tre en­com­pass­ing the study and ex­pe­ri­ence of all the arts.

If Kher cited sev­eral other pre­oc­cu­pa­tions and opted out of the race, Jag­mo­han who was also orig­i­nally pro­posed as a mem­ber of the IGNCA Board of Trus­tees is also learnt to have de­clined the po­si­tion. Rea­son be­ing, Jag­mo­han had served as Cul­ture min­is­ter in the Va­j­payee led NDA and did not see it fit to now serve as a mem­ber in one of the many or­ga­ni­za­tions un­der the aegis of that ev­ery min­istry. BJP Spokesper­son M J Ak­bar’s was an­other name on the IGNCA Board of Trus­tees that was knocked off for some rea­son later.

In fact, it is learnt that there was con­sid­er­able dis­cus­sion over nom­i­nat­ing jour­nal­ist Ram Ba­hadur Rai as Pres­i­dent of the IGNCA Board of Trus­tees even though he may have had some ABVP an­tecedents.

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