Top-notch Opposition leaders skipped the meeting on Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary commemoration including Sonia Gandhi (Congress), Mayawati (BSP), Mulayam Singh (SP), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPM) and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The high-powered National Committee for Commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma meeting which was chaired by the President Ram Nath Govind held at Rashtrapathi Bhawan on Wednesday. A galaxy of dignitaries included Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani have also participated. Addressing the meeting, President said that the world needs to incorporate Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas in the building of a 21st century that is marked by justice and equality, by peace and wisdom, and by the elimination of poverty.
``This would be a world that would do the Mahatma proud. Let us celebrate his 150th birthday in ways and means that befits the great person that Gandhiji was,’’ he said. The meeting was skipped by several opposition party leaders, including Sonia Gandhi (Congress), Mayawati (BSP), Mulayam Singh (SP), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPM) and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
About 80 committee members, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, attended the first meeting to discuss ideas for organising different events to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
The meeting brought together politicians of different hues including union cabinet ministers, state chief ministers, and leaders of political parties. The committee’s mandate is to approve policies and plans including preparatory activities for the commemoration of the birth anniversary of Gandhi from October 2, 2019, to October 2, 2020. The Union Government has earmarked Rs 150-crore for the centenary. The Ministry of Culture is the nodal ministry for the celebrations, with Union Culture Secretary as member-secretary.
The committee comprises 125 members, including Gandhian, RSS members, spiritual leaders, and social workers. The Committee also has nine international members, including two former Secretaries-General of the United Nations – Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon – and Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and former US Vice-President Al Gore. UNI