The government on Monday reconstituted the 147-member National Integration Council (NIC) to be headed by the prime minister.
Union ministers, leaders of Opposition in both Houses of Parliament, chief ministers of all states and Union Territories with legislatures, leaders of national and regional parties are among the members.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan would be members as leaders of national parties.
Farooq Abdullah, Ajit Singh, Sukhbir Badal, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad, Sharad Yadav and Mehbooba Mufti are among the leaders of regional parties who have also been included.
Among the eminent public figures who find place in the re-constituted NIC are Somnath Chatterjee, Sitaram Yechury, Shabana Azmi, Amar Singh and Rajnath Singh.
Shobhana Bhartia, chairperson of Hindustan Times, Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express, N. Ravi, Editor, The Hindu, M.K. Razdan, Editor-in-Chief, Press Trust of India Ltd, Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, CNN-IBN, Barkha Dutt, Group Editor, NDTV, are among the media personalities appointed to the national council.
Women representatives in the council include Ela R. Bhatt, V. Mohini Giri and Annie Raja.
Tasked to formulate recommendations to find ways and means to combat the evils of communalism, casteism, regionalism, linguism and narrow-mindedness, the NIC — set up in 1962 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru — had fallen into disuse during the early nineties.
The first edition of the UPA government revived this consultative mechanism in 2005 as part of its commitment in the common minimum programme.