Congress MPs skip ceremony for new parliament building

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation stone of the New Parliament Building during a ceremony, in New Delhi, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress on Thursday targeted the Narendra Modi government over the proposed new parliament building, with senior leaders pointing out that India’s democracy is not made by ‘grand buildings’ but its constitutional values.

Congress' parliamentary leaders stayed away from the ground breaking ceremony of the new parliament. The party has been critical of the government proceeding with the Central Vista project in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram tweeted that “the foundation for a new parliament building was laid on the ruins of a liberal democracy”, his colleague and Congress’ deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, called it a “case of misplaced priorities in times of a pandemic, economic distress and farmers are fighting for justice and their rights in the biting cold”.

“Vibrant Democracy is sustained and strengthened not by grand buildings but by nurturing the spirit of India’s hard-earned constitutional democracy which was brazenly assaulted when the Farm Bills were rammed through by muzzling Opposition, using COVID pandemic as a shield, and in violation of Parliamentary rules and established practices,” Mr. Sharma tweeted.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said history would record that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy laying the foundation stone of the new parliament building when farmers were fighting for their rights on the streets.

“Dear PM, Parliament is not mortar and stones. It envisions Democracy. It imbibes Constitution. It is Economic-Political-Social Equality. It is Compassion and Camaraderie. It is the aspirations of 130 crore Indians. What would a building built upon trampling of these values represent?” he said on Twitter.

Congress Chief Whip in the Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh said the existing Parliament building, built by the British resembled the Chausath Yogini Temple in Morena (Madhya Pradesh) while the new ‘atmanirbhar’ parliament looked like the Pentagon in Washington.

On his Twitter handle, Mr Ramesh shared pictures of the old and new buildings and that of the Pentagon and the Morena temple for comparison.

Sharing the same pictures, Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari asked, “Why has the new Parliament building been modelled on the Pentagon ? Coincidence —deliberate or default?”

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the decision to build the new building was “heartless”, “senseless” and “shameless”.

“At a time when the nation is going through economic recession, the BJP instead of giving any concession is taking out an 'extravaganza procession,” Mr. Shergill said.

Dalit leader Udit Raj also organised a protest march near Parliament to demand that the new building be named after Dr B. R. Ambedkar ‘to honour the chief architect of the Constitution”.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 2:47:03 AM |

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