New Delhi: The Delhi government did what the “Centre did not”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today while inaugurating a memorial of former President APJ Abdul Kalam here, promising to further develop it into a “knowledge centre”.
The memorial, that has been built inside the premises of Delhi Haat, houses photographs and belongings such as books of Kalam, who was also known as the ‘Missile Man’. Kalam had passed away on July 27 last year following a cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture in IIM-Shillong.
An online petition started by senior journalist R Bhagwan Singh played a pivotal role behind the formation of the ‘Kalam Memorial’.
“This memorial will inspire millions and the next generation. He was a President of the masses. Few months ago I came to know that the Centre is not building the memorial, then the Delhi government decided to build it.
“However, there was an apprehension regarding what form and shape it would take. We will make it bigger. We are planning to convert it into a research centre,” Kejriwal said.
The petition of Singh, that was hosted by the portal Change.Org, had garnered around 33,000 signatures. It was launched on October 27, after Kalam’s 10 Rajaji Marg residence was alloted to Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma.
“I came to know on October that the residence was being vacated. His ancestral place does not have that much space to be made into memorial. So I started an online petition on October 27. I am yet to receive any response from the Centre but the Delhi govt had promptly responded. I have also urged that it be converted into a Knowledge Centre,” Singh said.
During the event, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also took a swipe at the BJP-led Centre saying while the AAP believed in Kalam’s vision, there are sections whose “culture is culture is hatred, divide and rule.”
“Now their Culture Minister will act according to such principles while our Culture Minister will act according to Kalam’s vision,” Sisodia said. .