The Congress on Thursday attacked the Centre over the new Parliament building, and asked what would a building represent when it is built after “trampling” democracy.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said history would record that when farmers were fighting for their rights by protesting on the streets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy laying the foundation stone of the new Parliament building.
“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.
Surjewala said in a democracy, power does not mean fulfilling one’s whims and fancies, but serving people and public interest.
“Mr Modi, history will also record that when the ‘Annadata’ (food grower) was fighting for his rights for 16 days on the streets, you were building a palace for yourself in the name of Central Vista. In democracy, power is not a means to fulfil your whims, but is a medium for public service and public welfare,” he said in another tweet in Hindi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament building here at an event that was attended by leaders from various political parties, cabinet ministers and ambassadors of different countries.
The Congress, however, did not attend the event.
The party has been accusing the central government of trampling the rights of farmers who have been protesting against the Centre’s new agri-marketing laws.
Another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the existing Parliament building built by the British “bears a remarkable similarity to the Chausath Yogini Temple in Morena in Madhya Pradesh, while the new ‘atmanirbhar’ Parliament building bears an eerie likeness to the Pentagon in Washington DC”.
He also shared pictures of the old and new Parliament buildings and that of the Pentagon and the Morena temple to draw a comparison.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said, “The foundation for a new Parliament building was laid on the ruins of a liberal democracy.”
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the decision to build the new building was “heartless”, “senseless” and “shameless”.
Meanwhile, Dalit leader Udit Raj organised a protest march near Parliament against laying the foundation stone of the new building. The demonstration took place when the PM was laying the foundation stone of the new Parliament building.
“Our demand was to name the new building after B R Ambedkar. The heavy police presence did not allow the marchers to reach the Parliament,” he said.
“Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, deserves this honour. He is the voice of the voiceless people,” the national chairman of the Confederation of SC/ST organisations said in a statement.
Indian Parliament’s new building will have a triangular shape to reflect the importance of triangles being a sacred geometry in various religions, while its interiors will have three national symbols as their main themes — Lotus, Peacock and Banyan Tree.
The new building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project.
The Congress has been opposing the redevelopment project and the new Parliament building. It has maintained that the need of the hour is not to go ahead with the ambitious project, but to spend the resources in rebuilding India and giving a boost to the country’s economy which has been hit by COVID-19 pandemic.