PM dedicates new parliament building to nation, amid Oppn boycott

The new complex, built earthquake resistant at the cost of ₹971 crore, has 888 seats in the Lok Sabha chamber and 384 seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber

New Parliament Building

New Delhi: After installing the historic scepter ‘Sengol’ near the Lok Sabha speaker’s chair, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated the new Parliament building to the nation after the customary rituals here. The new building was inaugurated amid a boycott by opposition parties, which insisted President Droupadi Murmu be given the opportunity to do the honours.

Earlier in the day, the PM installed the Sengol with Nandi at the top facing East-West direction in the new Parliament House. The Sengol offered flowers and performed aarti with diya. The golden sengol was presented to first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru by representatives of Sri Pandarasannadhi of Thiru-vaduthurai Adhinam (Tanjore, Madras Presidency) on the morning of August 15, 1947.

Addressing the gathering, Modi said there were few moments in every nation’s history that are immortalized. “Some dates become the immortal signature on the face of time and the 28th of May, 2023 is one such day. People of India have given themselves a gift for the Amrit Mahotsav”, he said.

The new complex has a hexagons shape and has been built next to the existing parliament building, which is almost same in size. The building is designed to have a lifespan of more than 150 years and earthquake resistant. Architectural styles from different parts of the country have been incorporated in it. The chambers for the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have large seating capacities to accommodate more members than are currently present, since the number of MPs may increase with India’s growing population and consequent future delimitation.

Seating capacity

The new complex has 888 seats in the Lok Sabha chamber and 384 seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber. Unlike the old parliament building, it do not have a central hall. The Lok Sabha chamber able to house 1,272 members in case of a joint session. Additionally, it houses a joint session chamber for simultaneous sittings of both houses, fostering collaboration and efficient governance. The rest of the building have 4 floors with offices of ministers and committee rooms.

Built area

The new parliament has a built area of 20,866 sq m (including its open-sky area of 2,000 sq m for a banyan tree), which makes it 10% smaller in size than the existing old circular building of 22,900 sq m (diameter 170.7 m) including its open sky area of 6,060 sq m or 1.5 acres, split in three sectors each half an acre.

The new complex has 3 entrances, named- Gyan Dwar, Shakti Dwar, and Karma Dwar.

Speaker of Lok Sabha Om Birla, and deputy speaker of Rajya Sabha Harivansh Narayan Singh were present on the occasion among others, besides many cabinet ministers and MPs.

Oppn terms event insult to democracy, boycott

Opposition parties criticised the event, saying the PM had sidelined President Droupadi Murmu, who has only ceremonial powers but is the head of state and highest constitutional authority. Modi’s ‘decision to inaugurate the building by himself’ was ‘a grave insult’ to India’s democracy, opposition parties said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the government had ‘disqualified, suspended and muted’ opposition lawmakers while passing ‘controversial legislation’ with little debate.

“When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the parliament, we find no value in a new building,” the parties said. “To open a new parliament building without the opposition, it does not mean there is a democracy in the country. It’s an incomplete event,” Supriya Sule, an opposition leader said.

Govt rejects Oppn argument

The Modi government has rejected the opposition’s argument, saying no protocol has been violated and the PM respects the constitutional head of the country. Home minister Amit Shah said the opposition had politicised the event, and other leaders from Modi’s party described the boycott as ‘an insult to the prime minister’.

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