Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his government will establish a grand museum dedicated to all former prime ministers, as he pitched for a “new political culture” to get rid of “political untouchability”.
Speaking at the launch of a book on former prime minister Chandra Shekhar written by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, Modi, in an apparent attack on the Congress, said a section of political class tried to erase the memories of former prime ministers.
Referring to the padyatra carried out by Chandra Shekhar across the country, he said efforts were made to malign it by levelling allegations that it was funded by businessmen.
“A section of political class tried to erase the memories of all former prime ministers by giving them such titles that they should not be remembered,” Modi said.
He also said attempts were made to align the image of B R Ambedkar and Sardar Patel after independence.
Modi said if today’s generation is asked about Morarji Desai and Lal Bahadur Shastri, they hardly know about them.
“They were intentionally erased from memory of people. But, I am sorry to say there is a political section which did so. But with blessings of all you I have decided to set up a grand museum of all former prime ministers in the country,” he said.
Mentioning names of I K Gujral, Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh, Modi said everyone of them contributed and this should be acknowledged.
Underlining that political untouchability is so “high” that “there is need for new political culture”, Modi said, suggesting that this museum is an initiative in that direction.
He also urged the families of all former prime ministers to share things and information related to them so that these can be used in the museum.
Apparently referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s choice of Jawaharlal Nehru and not Sardar Patel as the country’s first prime minister, he said in a lighter vain that a Gujarati chose a non-Gujarati for the post.
After Emergency, a Bihari pitched for a Gujarati for the job, Modi said, referring to Jai Prakash Narayan opting for Morarji Desai for the prime minister’s chair following Janata Party’s win in the 1977 general election.
Speaking about the book, he said Harivansh has done a courageous job as it clarifies many things when Shekhar was alive and it is opposite to many beliefs about various incidents of that time. Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad were among others present at the launch.