New Delhi, May 28
The new Parliament building is a reflection of new India's aspirations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, asserting that it will pave the way for empowering the poor and marginalised and herald the rise of a "developed India" that will inspire the progress of other nations.
In a speech delivered from the grand and cavernous Lok Sabha hall decorated in peacock motif, Modi said the ultra-modern complex was the "need of the hour" in view of the expected increase in the number of members of Parliament.
Some moments in the developmental journey of a nation get immortalised, today is one such day, Modi said amid repeated thumping of desks by the audience.
"More than just a building, the new Parliament encompasses the aspirations and dreams of 1.4 billion people. It sends a powerful message to the world about India's unwavering determination," he said and hailed the country's democratic ethos.
Modi inaugurated the new building this morning at a grand ceremony which included a havan, a multi-faith prayer ceremony and the installation of the Sengol in a special enclosure in the Lok Sabha chamber.
He later addressed a gathering of MPs and distinguished guests in the newly-built Lok Sabha chamber that saw attendance from about 25 parties. About 20 opposition parties boycotted the event, accusing the prime minister of "sidelining" President Droupadi Murmu.
The new Parliament complex will witness realisation of the 'developed India' pledge and will inspire other nations as well, Modi said.
Soon after he arrived in Lok Sabha amidst chants of 'Modi, Modi', the messages by President Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar were read out, while Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Harivansh also addressed the gathering.
In his speech, Modi said that as India develops, the world progresses. He asserted that this new Parliament building will give a call for the development of the world as well.
He also talked about the 'Sengol', saying that it was a symbol of power transfer from the British and had now been given the respect it deserves.
"In the Chola empire, it (Sengol) was considered a symbol of the Kartavya path (path of duty), Seva Path (path of service) and Rashtra path (path of the nation)," Modi said.
The prime minister asserted that India is not only a democratic nation but is also the mother of democracy.
"Our democracy is our inspiration, our Constitution our resolve. Parliament is the best representative of this inspiration and resolution," he said, adding that the new Parliament building was a perfect example of the co-existence of the old and new.
In his remarks, Modi also pointed out that the construction of the new Parliament building gave employment to 60,000 workers and a digital gallery dedicated to them has also been built in the complex.
The building has been completed in about two-and-a-half years at an estimated cost of nearly Rs 1,200 crore.
From building Panchayat buildings to the Parliament complex, "our commitment remains the same", he said as he drew parallels between the grandeur of the new building and the work done by his government at the ground level.
"We have 25 years of 'Amritkaal Khand', together we have to make India a developed nation in this period," Modi said.
Every decision taken in this Parliament will decide the fate of all sections of society and laws made here will help remove poverty and empower the poor and the marginalised sections of society, he said.
"Every decision taken here will lay the foundation of India's glorious future... the way to empower the poor, dalits, backwards, tribals, divyangs and other marginalised section does through here," he said, adding "each brick and wall of this Parliament building should be dedicated to the welfare of the poor".
He said the new Parliament building will be a testament to the dawn of Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
"It will be a witness to our journey towards a Viksit Bharat (developed India)," Modi said at the event attended by former president Ram Nath Kovind, Chief Ministers Y S Jagan Reddy, Yogi Adityanath, Eknath Shinde and Neiphu Rio, foreign envoys, Parliamentarians and people from different walks of life.
Earlier, dressed in traditional attire, Modi walked into Parliament premises from its Gate No. 1 and was welcomed by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
Amid Vedic chants by priests from Karnataka's Shringeri Math, the prime minister performed "Ganapati Homam" to invoke divine blessings.
The prime minister prostrated before the Sengol and sought blessings from high priests of various adheenams in Tamil Nadu with the holy sceptre in hand.
Modi then carried the Sengol in a procession amid tunes of nadaswaram and chanting of Vedic mantras to the new Parliament building and installed it in a special enclosure on the right side of the Speaker's chair in the Lok Sabha chamber.
"As the new building of India's Parliament is inaugurated, our hearts and minds are filled with pride, hope and promise. May this iconic building be a cradle of empowerment, igniting dreams and nurturing them into reality. May it propel our great nation to new heights of progress," the prime minister tweeted.
The prime minister felicitated with shawls and souvenirs some of the workers for their key role in the construction of the new Parliament building.
The new Parliament building, constructed by Tata Projects Ltd, will also have a grand Constitution Hall to showcase India's democratic heritage, a lounge for MPs, a library, multiple committee rooms, dining areas and ample parking space.
The triangular-shaped four-storey building has a built-up area of 64,500 square metres.
The building has three main gates -- Gyan Dwar, Shakti Dwar, and Karma Dwar.
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