96 years on, Parliament gets new House : The Tribune India

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96 years on, Parliament gets new House

Amid boycott by 21 opposition parties, PM Modi to unveil building today

Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, May 27

Ninety-six years after the colonial-era Parliament was inaugurated by then Governor-General Lord Irwin on January 18, 1927, India will get a new Parliament complex on Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to unveil the structure notwithstanding Opposition’s calls for President Droupadi Murmu to do the honours and boycott of the event by 21 parties.

Different views of the new Parliament building that will be inaugurated by the PM on Sunday. PTI

With the Sunday unveiling, it will be curtains for the current Parliament, which saw the adoption of the Indian Constitution, besides bearing testimony to milestones in the Indian growth story and the nation’s trials and tribulations.

PM Narendra Modi being blessed by Adheenam ahead of the Sengol installation in the new Parliament building, in New Delhi on Saturday. ANI

Ahead of the inauguration, the PM today hosted priests from Tamil Nadu who carried with them the Sengol that marked the transfer of power from the British to India in 1947. The sceptre will be installed close to the Chair of the Lok Sabha Speaker.

Unlike the current building, designed by English architects Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens, the new one has been created by Indian architect Bimal Patel, and will have a capacity to seat 888 members in the Lok Sabha and 300 in the Rajya Sabha. The present building can accommodate only 543 members in the Lok Sabha and 250 in the Rajya Sabha.

“The present building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy. The number of Lok Sabha seats has remained unaltered at 545, based on the delimitation carried out on the basis of the 1971 Census. It is likely to increase substantially after 2026 as the freeze on the total number of seats is only till 2026. The seating arrangements are cramped and cumbersome, with no desks beyond the second row. The Central Hall has a seating capacity only for 440 persons,” says the government.

The historic Sunday opening, which will begin with multi-faith prayers, will, however, remain marred in controversy forever, with 21 opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, AAP and the Left Front, set to boycott the event. Besides,18 constituents of the NDA, seven non-BJP parties will attend. These include the BJD, BSP, LJP, TDP, YSRCP, SAD and the JD (S).

The PM said the Sengol, which was not accorded the dignity it deserved in post-Independence India, will finally get its due when it is placed in the temple of democracy on Sunday. Addressing pontiffs from Tamil Nadu, the PM, in a veiled dig at the Congress, said, “Sengol not only symbolised the transfer of power, it also marks India’s transition from slavery to liberation. This pure sceptre should have been accorded due dignity post-Independence but it was kept in Prayagraj’s Anand Bhavan as a walking stick for exhibition.”

Can seat 888 MPs

Seating: Lok Sabha chamber can seat 888 MPs instead of 543

Infra Safety: Old Parliament was built when Delhi was in seismic zone II. New building complies with current seismic zone IV requirements

Space: Old building has 24,281 sq metres area; new 64,500 sq metres

High-tech: Cutting-edge standards and modern infrastructure design equipped with future-proof facilities

PM hosts 97-yr-old Sengol crafter

Among the pontiffs whom the PM hosted on Saturday was 97-year-old Vummidi Ethirajulu, who in 1947 crafted the sacred Sengol on Thiruvavadurai Adheenam’s orders

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