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Home / India News / Sonia, Rahul, eight Oppn CMs skip meet on Mahatma Gandhi birth anniversary

Sonia, Rahul, eight Oppn CMs skip meet on Mahatma Gandhi birth anniversary

Narendra Modi suggests that programmes should revolve around the theme of “Gandhi in action” and include use of technology “so that the whole world can take note and participate”.

india Updated: May 03, 2018 00:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
President Ram Nath Kovind, vice president M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for the first meeting of the national committee set up for commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday.
President Ram Nath Kovind, vice president M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for the first meeting of the national committee set up for commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary commemorations should be elevated to a “global celebration” using the United Nations and other multilateral platforms, President Ram Nath Kovind said Wednesday, as he chaired a meeting of a national panel for the event.

Eight chief ministers, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Left Front leaders, and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra were among the participants conspicuous by their absence at the meeting hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Suggestions at the first meeting of the National Committee for Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations ranged from “specific measures to help farmers, to travelling exhibitions and creating infrastructure and linkages in specific locations and states associated with Mahatma Gandhi,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan release said.

Pitching for internal celebrations of Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, which takes place in 2019, Kovind said Gandhi does not belong to India alone but “remains one of India’s greatest gifts to humankind and his name finds resonance across the continents”. “Mahatma Gandhi was the most influential Indian of the 20th century. He was the inspiration for our largely non-violent, inclusive and democratic freedom struggle. He remains the ethical benchmark against which we test public men and women, political ideas and government policies,” Kovind said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that programmes should revolve around the theme of “Gandhi in action” and include use of technology “so that the whole world can take note and participate”.

“He called for the celebrations to move beyond government events and take the shape of a mass movement - or Jan Bhagidaari,” said the release.

Even as chief ministers such as Nitish Kumar (Bihar) and Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) spoke at the event, four southern chief ministers—Chandrababu Naidu, K Chandrasekhar Rao, Pinarai Vijayan and Siddaramaiah gave the event a miss. Chief ministers of Punjab, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram also couldn’t attend the event.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister HD Deveowda, CPIM chief Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge couldn’t come. Similarly, former UN secretary generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, former US Vice-President Al Gore and Archbishop Desmond Tutu were among the foreign participants not present.

The meeting also decided that the focus should be on “tangible, actionable legacies that will make a difference to the lives of ordinary people” and a smaller executive committee would be set up to take things forward.

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