The removal of Satinder Satti and Surinder Singh Virdi as chairperson and vice chairperson of the Punjab Kala Parishad (arts council) respectively has made another reason to confront the decision of Congress government. The out going members are called this ‘unconstitutional move’ of the state government.
The Congress government recently nominated renowned poet Surjit Patar and theatre veteran Neelam Mansingh Chaudhary as council members.
Tourism and Culture Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu had visited Patar’s house in Ludhiana to hand over a letter confirming his appointment as chairperson. Satinder Satti, who had been named chairperson by then SAD-BJP government in September last year, said she would address a press conference after the council’s general body meeting on Thursday.
Surinder Singh Virdi said his ouster was improper and unpleasant. “As per the council’s constitution, the tenure of the vice chairperson has to be co-terminus with the council’s term, unless the incumbent resigns. There is no provision of removal during the term,” he added.
The constitution, however, specifies that the chairperson can be removed by the government before the council’s term ends.
The member of council Dr Lakhwinder Johal said: “It’s an encouraging sign that Surjit Patar and Neelam Mansingh have been handed the parishad’s reins, but the government acted hurriedly replaced them”.
According to Navjot Singh Sidhu said “It’s the government has a right to nominate members of the arts council. Our team will include at least 100 leading personalities from various fields.”
He claimed that the changes at the top had been duly communicated to all concerned. “We have not ousted anybody from the council. Satti has been told that we will look forward to her cooperation and expertise, particularly in handling projects concerning the youth and women. Virdi’s participation will also be sought,” the minister said. The Parishad’s chairperson, vice chairperson and the secretary are elected by its general body, which has 29 members, including the presidents of Punjab Sahitya Akademi, Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi and Punjab, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Vice Chancellors of Panjab University, Punjabi University, Punjab Agricultural University and Guru Nanak Dev University; six members from societies/organisations recognised by the parishad; and six distinguished personalities from various fields of art.
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