Minister denies report on Nehru library head

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New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma on Wednesday denied reports on the likely appointment of journalist Swapan Dasgupta as head of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).

“There is no truth in the reports. There is a system of selection, after all. The decision lies with the library’s executive council, which will have to follow the defined method of selection,” the minister told IANS on the sidelines of a function held to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai at Teen Murti Bhavan here.

Political commentator Swapan Dasgupta is currently a member of the NMML Society, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The NMML director’s post is lying vacant since September 2015 after the resignation of Mahesh Rangarajan.

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Asked about the delay in filling the position, Sharma said the appointment could not be done by a minister or even the prime minister.

“The director’s post is not a nominated one. The NMML is an autonomous body. The appointment cannot be done by any minister or even the prime minister,” he said.

Sharma said the executive council will follow due process by inviting applications for the post through advertisements.

Rangarajan’s resignation led to a controversy as opposition parties and others dubbed it as the BJP government’s ploy to manipulate cultural institutions.

The government, however, alleged irregularities in Rangarajan’s appointment by the previous Congress-led government.

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