New Delhi: In a move that is bound create fresh political controversy, the government has decided to discontinue stamps dedicated to Congress party icons like former Prime Ministers Indira and Rajiv Gandhi.
The government has instead prepared a list of 22 personalities who will now appear on the postal stamps.
Indian icons associated with RSS and its affiliated groups figure prominently in the list. Bhartiya Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, RSS ideologue and freedom fighter Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Maratha icon Chatrapati Shivaji are among those who will now be seen on postal stamps.
India's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, musicians Ravi Shankar and Bismillah Khan also appear on the list.
Postage stamps dedicated to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Rajendra Prasad, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Jay Prakash Narayan, Bhagat Singh, Lokmanya Tilak, Swami Vivekananda, Subranmanyam Bharti and Bhimsen Joshi will also be issued.
Well-known singers, writers, freedom-fighters and painters are among those shortlisted by the government.
The decision was taken by the philatelic advisory committee which met under the chairmanship of Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad yesterday.
According to an official statement, it was also decided that ceremonial stamps issued so far may be made available in all post offices, and stamps with picture postcards may be released on tourist places such as Taj Mahal, Ajanta and Ellora, Belur Math, Khajuraho etc.