The Congress party has launched an attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the architecture of the new Parliament building has undermined democracy and conversations. In response, the BJP has criticized this stance, considering it an insult to the aspirations of India’s 1.4 billion citizens.
Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that the new Parliament building effectively fulfills the Prime Minister’s objectives and suggested that it be named the “Modi Multiplex or Modi Marriot.” Ramesh expressed concerns about the decline in discussions and interactions within both Houses and the lobbies since the new building’s inauguration. He even questioned whether architecture could threaten democracy, asserting that the Prime Minister seemed to have achieved this without amending the Constitution.
In response, BJP President J P Nadda condemned the Congress’s stance, labeling it as a “pathetic mindset” and an insult to the aspirations of all Indians. He reminded that the Congress had previously attempted to undermine Parliament in 1975, but their efforts had failed.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh joined the BJP’s counterattack by proposing an evaluation and rationalization of “dynastic dens” throughout India. He suggested transferring the 1, Safdarjung Road complex back to the Government of India, which currently houses the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum. Ramesh noted that this museum was formerly Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s residence, where she was assassinated and later converted into a museum.
Ramesh further criticized the lack of coziness and compactness in the new Parliament building, suggesting that binoculars might be needed for communication. He contrasted it with the old Parliament building, which he claimed fostered conversations and ease of movement between the Houses, Central Hall, and corridors. He argued that the new structure hampers the necessary bonding for the effective functioning of Parliament.
Ramesh added that the new building has made quick coordination between the two Houses extremely cumbersome and lacks the open and spacious feel of the old building. He expressed disappointment in the new complex, stating that the pleasure of spending time in Parliament has diminished.
Moreover, Ramesh mentioned that the staff in the Secretariat had expressed concerns about the new building’s design, as it did not consider the various functionalities required for their work. He attributed these issues to the lack of consultations with the building’s eventual users.
The new Parliament building, completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, became operational on September 19 during a special session where the women’s reservation bill was unanimously passed.