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
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.
TOO BUSY NOW