Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his predecessor Sonia Gandhi skipped a meeting called by President Kovind for discussing ways to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations in 2019, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Apart from the mother-son duo, others who skipped the meeting on Wednesday included Chief Ministers from eight states, left front leaders and the Chief Justice of India. The states from whose Chief Minister gave a miss were Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Tripura, Punjab, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
The prominent political absentees included CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. Foreign dignitaries like former UN secretary Generals Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon, erstwhile US Vice President Al Gore too could not attend the meet.
As per a report by NDTV, these celebrations would start on 2 October 2019 and will go on for a whole year until 2 October 2020. Thus the National Committee constituted to plan the same met on Wednesday for the first time.
Some of the suggestions floated during the meeting included implementing specific measures to help farmers, creating travelling exhibitions and infrastructure and linkages in locations associated with Gandhi. A general consensus was created during the meeting that the focus needed to be on tangible and actionable legacies which would make a difference to ordinary people’s lives.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also attended the proceedings suggested setting up programs revolving around “Gandhi in action” which include an use of technology so as to get the whole world to take note and participate.
He also suggested that the celebrations move beyond the government and transform into a mass movement.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, indicated the global scale of the celebrations by informing that her ministry was planning on holding celebrations in 193 countries. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee who too was present at the meeting, disagreed with the celebration’s format and asserted that celebrations should begin in 2018 and go on for two whole years.