The Central Hall of Parliament will soon have a portrait of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A decision to this effect was taken by the Committee on Installation of Portraits/Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in the Parliament House Complex, chaired by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
The same committee, headed by the then Speaker Meira Kumar, had in 2010 decided to disallow any further installation of a statue or portrait in the Parliament House. The panel had argued that this was necessary to maintain the neat and spacious look of the building, which already had statues and portraits. For the future, the committee had stated that in rare cases, permission for installation of a statue or portrait could be given only after clearance by the Heritage Committee, headed by the Speaker.
Everybody present at Tuesday’s meeting supported the proposal. The 13-member panel includes Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete (Shiv Sena), Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC) and Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD).
Sources said the issue of space in the Central Hall came up at the meeting. The members, however, felt a way could be found if there was will. The sources said that the display arrangement in the hall would be changed a bit to accommodate Vajpayee’s portrait.