New Delhi, September 18
The last working day of old Parliament witnessed a temporary blurring of political divide as Prime Minister Narendra Modi led an emotional tribute to the iconic House, saluting 15 past Prime Ministers, including Jawaharlal Nehru, whose “Tryst with Destiny” speech, he said, “would keep inspiring us”.
Transition to new house
- 3 photo shoots of RS/LS MPs in old Parl
- Commemoration of India’s rich Parl legacy in Central Hall; VP & PM to lead
- Address by veteran MPs Maneka Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Shibu Soren likely
- 90-minute event to culminate with MPs walking over to the new Parl building
In an hour-long speech, the PM lauded the majesty of Indian democracy, which sent “a poor boy like me, working on a railway platform, to Parliament” and sought cross-party solidarity for national good in Amrit Kaal.
Entering with new hope
As we enter new Parliament building, we will go there with new hope and confidence.
Narendra Modi, PM
“Who would not feel like clapping when Pt Nehru is praised?” said the PM with Congress parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi thumping her desk in applause when Modi wound up. Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury later reciprocated PM’s gesture by lauding late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee for Pokhran despite the threat of sanctions. The PM’s remarks today encapsulated the national enthusiasm around the success of the G20 summit and Chandrayaan-3, even as he recalled milestone events that unfolded in Parliament and declared entry to new Parliament would be marked by new hopes and aspirations. The success of G20 summit, Modi said, “was not of any one person or party but of all 140 crore Indians”. Seeking to reach out to the Opposition, the PM noted while MPs threw barbs at one another, “the filial bonds struck in Parliament outlive all bitterness”.
‘Focus on improving nation’s condition’
Asserting that nothing new would be achieved by shifting to new Parliament, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge asked the government to change the way it did politics, accusing it of using ED to scare the Opposition. “I urge treasury to focus on improving country’s conditions,” he said.
Among milestones involving predecessors mentioned by PM Modi were the creation of Bangladesh under Indira Gandhi; the genesis of Green Revolution under Lal Bahadur Shastri; the suspension and restoration of democracy post Emergency; the economic reforms under PV Narasimha Rao; and the cash-for-vote scam under Manmohan Singh. From the best labour law practices piloted by BR Ambedkar to the first industrial policy drafted by then industry minister Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the PM remembered everyone who contributed to strengthening the House — personnel who died defending Parliament in the 2001 attack, parliament staffers and even journalists.
“Our ancestors proved all sceptics of Indian democracy wrong,” he stated.
Amid frequent applause by ruling party MPs, the PM recalled the contributions of all Presidents and PMs from Nehru and Shastri to Chandra Shekhar, Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh and said: “Today is a day to celebrate past PMs.” He also lauded Sardar Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, LK Advani and all 16 Lok Sabha Speakers right from GV Mavalankar.
In a special mention, he spoke of Bhagat Singh exploding a bomb in this very building in 1929 to “awaken a slumbering empire”.
The historical decisions taken in Parliament that found mention in the PM’s speech were Abrogation of Article 370, GST, One Rank One Pension, and 10% quota for the economically weak.
The PM wrapped up saying the membership of the 17th Lok Sabha would get the good fortune of acting as a link between past and present as the session prepares to shift to new Parliament tomorrow.
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