Sunday, October 10, 2010

NAME GAMES: The story behind cabinet secretary’s letter on Gandhis and Nehrus

CABINET secretary KM Chandrasekhar’s confidential letter dated October 6, 2010, directing ministries to selectively use the names of Gandhis and Nehrus for government programmes and schemes, is understood to be a well-calibrated move with the direction from none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
In the letter, excerpts of which got published in some newspapers on Sunday, cabinet secretary said that the practice of using the names of leaders like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi has become “indiscriminate” and it reduces the value of identifying programmes with national figures, particularly as implementation and impact of many of these programmes is not always as ought to be. “As such, many of them do not merit such association,” he wrote in the letter.
It’s believed that Prime Minister must have consulted with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the matter before directing the cabinet secretary to shoot off a formal letter. According to reports, 450 government programmes, schemes and institutions in India were named after the Nehru-Gandhi family, out of which 200 were named after Rajiv Gandhi.
Recently, Sonia Gandhi was upset with surface transport minister Kamal Nath for using her pictures on signboards along national highways. The cabinet secretary’s formal letter is believed to be for reining in Congress ministers who at times go overboard to woo the Gandhi family. 

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