The Congress on Thursday boycotted the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the new Parliament building, criticizing the event at a time farmers were camped outside Delhi in protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building, which is expected to be completed by the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and is estimated to cost Rs 971 crore.
No one from the Congress attended the groundbreaking ceremony – performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of top politicians, industrialists and foreign envoys — a party functionary said.
The functionary said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were both invited to the function but didn’t attend.
Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said history would record that when farmers were fighting for their rights by protesting on the streets, Prime Minister Modi was busy laying the foundation stone of the new Parliament.
“Dear PM, Parliament is not mortar and stones. It envisions democracy. It imbibes Constitution. It is economic-political-social equality. It is compassion and camaraderie. It is the aspirations of 130 crore Indians. What would a building built upon trampling of these values represent?” he tweeted.
Surjewala said in a democracy, power did not mean fulfilling one’s whims and fancies, but serving the people and public interest. “Mr Modi, history will also record that when the ‘Annadata’ (food grower) was fighting for his rights for 16 days on the streets, you were building a palace for yourself in the name of Central Vista. In democracy, power is not a means to fulfil your whims, but is a medium for public service and public welfare,” he said in another tweet in Hindi.
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the existing Parliament building “bears a remarkable similarity to the Chausath Yogini Temple in Morena in Madhya Pradesh, while the new Parliament bears a likeness to Pentagon in US”.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram said, “The foundation for a new Parliament building was laid on the ruins of a liberal democracy.”
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the decision to build the new building was “heartless, senseless and shameless”.
“At a time when the nation is going through economic recession, the BJP instead of giving any concession is taking out an ‘extravaganza procession,” he said.