#NewParliament : Doing Away With Colonial Era

Picture : Twitter/ ANI

Amid protests by the opposition parties and simmering controversy over the installation of the ‘Sengol’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s new parliament building on Sunday, saying the impressive temple of democracy “will witness the sunrise of a self-reliant India”. Early in the morning, Modi held traditional prayers outside the complex in a ceremony that was also attended by top cabinet ministers. He then lit a traditional lamp inside the parliament and placed the ‘Sengol’ near the Lok Sabha speaker chair. In his first address in the new parliament, Modi said, “Some moments become immortal in the development journey of every country. Some dates become indelible signatures of history on the forehead of time… this day of May 28, 2023, is one such auspicious occasion. In this Amrit Mahotsav, the people of India have gifted this new parliament building to their democracy.”

Though the event was boycotted by 20 opposition parties saying Modi had violated protocol to inaugurate the new complex and grab the spotlight when it should have been done by the president, the highest executive of the country. However, the government rejected the opposition argument, saying no protocol has been violated and that the prime minister respects the constitutional head of the country. “To open a new parliament building without the opposition, it does not mean there is a democracy in the country. It’s an incomplete event,” said Supriya Sule, NCP MP .

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said, “The right to inaugurate the new parliament was snatched from the President. Women players were beaten up on the streets. The three lies of the BJP and RSS rulers – democracy, nationalism and save daughter- now stand exposed before the country. Remember Modi-ji, democracy is not just about buildings, but it functions with the voice of people.” NCP supremo Sharad Pawar expressed his happiness for ‘not attending’ the inauguration saying, “the event defeats Nehru’s idea of modern India.”

During the inauguration ceremony, a parliament official read out a note written by President Droupadi Murmu in which she welcomed that Modi had inaugurated the complex.

Though the old parliament will be converted into a museum. The new parliament complex is the centrepiece of a $2.4 billion project aimed at eclipsing the significance of colonial-era buildings in the capital’s centre, paving the way for modern buildings with a distinct Indian identity. Besides modern technology, the new parliament has a total of 1,272 seats in two chambers, nearly 500 more than the old building, and at least three times as much space to accommodate new lawmakers in the world’s most populous nation. The triangular-shaped parliament complex is just across from the old, circular heritage building built by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in 1927, two decades before India’s independence.

Undoubtedly an architectural marvel, the new parliament was greeted with a sharp political rhetoric. The onus lies with the BJP in reviving India’s old parliamentary culture, wherein the debate and decorum coexisted happily.

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