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May 22, 2011

Page: 42/48

Home > 2011 Issues > May 22, 2011

450 government schemes named after Nehru-Gandhi clan
By Pallavi Ghosh , CNN-IBN

PRESIDENT Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders paid homage to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth.

Rajiv Gandhi’s widow and Congress president Sonia, their son Rahul, daughter Priyanka and son-in-law Robert Vadra paid tribute to the slain leader at Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial Veer Bhumi in the national capital.

Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary is celebrated as Sadbhavna Diwas (harmony day) and Akshay Urja Diwas (energy day) in the country.

The ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) will be re-christened after Rajiv Gandhi said the minister in charge of the scheme. “We shall create a Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra. On the basis of this organisation people will be able to sit down and hold discussions,” said C P Joshi.

That is not the first thing to be named after the man who at 40 years of age had become India’s youngest prime minister in 1984 after his mother and the then-reigning prime minister Indira Gandhi fell to assassins’ bullets.

A RTI application reveals that 450 government programmes, schemes and institutions are named after the Gandhi-Nehru family, of which 200 are named after Rajiv Gandhi.

There is politics behind the name-game.

Recall value for one and of course, mending bridges are two significant gains achieved by naming projects after chosen leaders.

Speculation of the NCP leader Sharad Pawar-Sonia Gandhi rift was washed away with Pawar proposing and standing for naming the grand Worli sea link in Mumbai after Rajiv.

”The credit for imbibing scientific temper in the younger generation goes to Rajiv Gandhi,” Pawar said while recommending the naming.

As per the RTI filed: 12 Central Government programmes and projects are named after Rajiv Gandhi. 52 State government programmes, 98 universities and educational institutions; 6 airports and ports, 39 hospitals, 74 roads, buildings and places and 15 national parks and sanctuaries have been named after Rajiv Gandhi.

All this naming after Rajiv Gandhi did give BSP leader Mayawati an opportunity to attack the Congress which was gunning for her over the Maya statues mushrooming in UP.

In a reply to SC, Mayawati argued that if the Congress could do it, so could she. But the Congress does realise that in this age of branding it helps to have populist programmes names after one’s leaders.

The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation also distributed awards to recognise the excellence achieved by Indians in different fields. Rajiv Gandhi, the seventh prime minister of India had afterall led the Congress party to a major election victory in 1984, amassing the largest majority ever in Indian Parliament. Congress had then won 411 seats out of 542. Rajiv is also credited for beginning the dismantling of red tapism, ending the Licence Raj which had involved government quotas, tariffs and permit regulations on economic activity.

Congress does not fail to remind India and recall that Rajiv Gandhi had initiated the modernisation of telecommunications industry, expanded science and technology initiatives and improved relations with the US.


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