Nehru Memorial chief: Fresh row over short-listing of Vajpayee’s private secretary Shakti Sinha
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s private secretary Shakti Sinha’s short-listing among probables for appointment as the new director of Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) has not gone down well with a section of the organisation’s executive council.
The post has been lying vacant for the past one year following the sudden exit of well-known historian Mahesh Rangarajan - a UPA appointee.
Media reports peg Sinha, an AGMUT Cadre IAS officer of 1979 batch, as the frontrunner for the top job at NMML.
Sinha’s name was among five people who were shortlisted in a meeting of the selection committee headed by MoS for External Affairs MJ Akbar, also vice-chairperson of NMML’s executive council.
Political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta, also a member of the executive council and part of the selection committee, quitting the executive council over selection of Sinha, has questioned why a bureaucrat should head a prestigious research organisation like NMML. Mehta's resignation was accepted by the executive council late on Friday.
According a Times of India report, the executive council has forwarded two names to the Culture Ministry that will seek the approval of appointments committee of cabinet.
"He was asked to apply for the job," one official was quoted as saying in the report.
The official further claimed that Sinha did not qualify on the parameter of age since the advertisement specified 55 years on the date of application.
Sinha, who had taken voluntary retirement in 2013 while serving as Finance Secretary in the Delhi government, had served as a private secretary to Vajpayee during the NDA-I regime.
An autonomous organization under the Ministry of Culture, NMML is a leading repository of research on India’s first PM Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and the history of India’s independence movement.