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IGNCA reconstituted, Sonia dropped

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, NOV. 7. The Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) has been reconstituted. The Government has decided to retire all its present trustees, including the president, L.M. Singhvi, and the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, a life member of the Board of Trustees. While eight new members were announced late this evening, the remaining names will be announced shortly.

The new trustees include noted film-makers Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Mrinal Sen; former diplomat, Salman Haider; eminent scientist, R. Narasimhan; artist A. Ramachandran and industrialist, Rattan Tata, besides the Union Ministers for Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting who are ex-officio members. There are 21 members on the Board of Trustees, including the president and the member-secretary, who is often a bureaucrat.

CPI(M) criticism

Mr. Singhvi was appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1999 after Ms. Gandhi was removed as life-time president of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts Trust. Though his 10-year term will end in 2009, Mr. Singhvi's continuation on the post was criticised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the October 10 issue of the party newsletter, People's Democracy.

Others who have retired are the former President, R. Venkataraman, the former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, Prof. Yash Pal, Abid Hussian, Vidya Niwas Mishra, H. Narasimhaiah, M.V. Kamath, Bhupen Hazarika, Anjolie Ela Menon, V. Satyanarayana Sarma, Sonal Mansingh, K.J. Yesudas, M.S. Swaminathan, P.V. Krishna Bhat, and Suryakant Bali. Member-secretary, K.K. Chakravorty, a senior bureaucrat, has also retired.

The IGNCA was set up on the initiative of the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1987 as an autonomous trust under the Human Resources Development Ministry as a major resource centre for all forms of art — oral, written and visual. Kapila Vatsyayan, founder member-secretary, was also the lifetime trustee of the Board. After the death of Rajiv Gandhi, Ms. Sonia Gandhi was made president and, subsequently, the lifetime president of the Trust.

However, when the National Democratic Alliance came to power, it took the issue to court and removed Ms. Gandhi as the life-time president, though she continued to be the lifetime trustee, and some other members of the Trust.

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