• Sunday, September 24, 2023


Modi pays tribute to India’s old parliament building as special session kicks off

The Modi government said eight bills were listed for discussion during the special session and the agenda could be changed during the course of the week.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi ahead of addressing the media at the old parliament premises on the first day of the five-day special session, in New Delhi on Monday, September 18, 2023. (ANI Photo/Rahul Singh)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday (18) paid tribute to the country’s old parliament building ahead of moving to a new building which he inaugurated in May.

The prime minister was speaking at the beginning of a special five-day session of the parliament that has been called by his government.

On Tuesday (19), the session will shift to the new building following an event to commemorate the old parliament’s legacy.

The government’s announcement of the special session in August surprised the opposition that questioned the necessity of such a session when the parliament is set to meet in a few months for the winter session. It had also accused the government of maintaining “secrecy” over the agenda.

The Indian parliament generally meets three times a year for regular business — over a budget session, a monsoon session and a winter session.

The Modi government said eight bills were listed for discussion during the special session and the agenda could be changed during the course of the week.

Modi recalls journey of old parliament building

In his hour-long speech ahead of the special session, Modi recalled the journey of India’s democracy and said the final day in the heritage building should be dedicated to more than 7,500 parliamentarians who served there since the country gained Independence from British rule in August 1947.

“Today we have an opportunity to connect with the past. We are leaving this building with hope for the future. I am confident that as we enter the new Parliament building, we will go there with new hope and confidence,” the prime minister said.

“Today is the day for remembering the 7,500 MPs who have served here… I salute every brick of this building,” he said. Stressing on the historical importance of the old Parliament Building, PM Modi recalled that while the construction of the old parliament building was given by foreign rulers, it was constructed through the sweat, hard work and money of Indians.

“Today, we are taking leave from this historic building. Before Independence, this was the Imperial Legislative Council and after Independence, it became the Parliament building,” he said.

“We may go to the new building, but the old building will also inspire generations to come. This is an important chapter of India’s journey,” Modi said.

The prime minister also said that leaving the old parliament building was an “emotional moment” as the building was filled with special memories and the structure would continue to inspire generations to come.

“The biggest achievement of this parliament is that it has kept people’s faith in democracy alive,” the PM said in a speech where he also mentioned India’s successful lunar mission last month and hosting of the G20 summit earlier in September.

Modi had said ahead of the special session that its duration may be “short” but that it would include “historic decisions”.

Speculation was rife over the agenda of the special session, including a move to change the name of India into ‘Bharat’, something which was used during the recent G20 summit when Indian president Droupadi Murmu was called the ‘president of Bharat’ and Modi as the ‘prime minister of Bharat’.

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