Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has quietly made way for Congress president Sonia Gandhi for a function slated to be held in Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday for Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, four-time Congress president, on his 150th birth anniversary.
Dr Singh was supposed to be the chief guest at the event that marks year-long celebrations in memory of the distinguished leader from Uttar Pradesh. When Gandhi expressed her desire to attend, the event was postponed to Tuesday as it would have clashed with her Christmas engagements on Sunday.
The sudden interest by Gandhi to be part of the event is linked to the impending assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The change in the date of the event was announced by the culture ministry through advertisements in newspapers.
The PM, who heads a high-level panel set up to plan year-long celebrations in memory of Malaviya, was initially finalised as the chief guest.
Plans cleared by the panel include converting Malaviya's childhood home in Allahabad to a national monument and setting up of a national award in his honour for excellence in higher education. Malaviya is the founder of the Benares Hindu University.