Ashoka symbol to crown new Parliament unveiled
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the National Emblem cast atop the new Parliament building on Monday after performing ceremonial prayers, with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Harivansh Narayan Singh, Union ministers Pralhad Joshi and Hardeep Singh Puri, among others, in attendance.
The event led to a political row with Opposition parties taking potshots at Modi for inaugurating something the Speaker should have done according to the protocol, and over non-NDA leaders not being invited, alleging that the PM’s Office “violated all constitutional norms”.
After the inauguration, Modi tweeted, “This morning, I had the honour of unveiling the National Emblem cast on the roof of the new Parliament”.
The emblem installed atop the central foyer of the under-construction new Parliament building is 33m from the ground level and work started on it in September last year, taking over nine months to finish. The total weight of the structure is 16,000kg, including the 9,500kg emblem.
Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted, “Today the Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji unveiled the National Emblem atop the new Parliament House. The new Parliament building will become the identity of self-reliant and new India and will witness the fulfillment of the hopes and aspirations of the people. The national emblem will always be resplendent like a crown jewel.”
The PM’s inauguration of the structure came in for criticism from Opposition parties.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asadudddin Owaisi, member of Parliament from Hyderabad, criticised the government and said that the PM shouldn’t have unveiled the emblem.
“Constitution separates powers of parliament, govt & judiciary. As head of govt, @PMOIndia shouldn’t have unveiled the national emblem atop new parliament building. Speaker of Lok Sabha represents LS which isn’t subordinate to govt. @PMOIndia has violated all constitutional norms,” Owaisi tweeted.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Majeed Memon criticised the government for not inviting opposition parties for the unveiling of the National Emblem. “It was not a party (BJP) function or a government function. It was a national function, a constitutional function. It will go down in record that no opposition leader was there when the PM unveiled the National Emblem.”
National BJP spokesperson RP Singh said, “This was not the opening of the new Parliament building. When the new building is inaugurated, all political parties will be invited just like they were when the ground-breaking ceremony for the parliament building was held in December 2020. The PM is the head of the country so we don’t understand what problem the opposition parties have. There were no BJP leaders. Lok Sabha Speaker, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman and other ministers were there as per the protocol.”
According to senior central Public Works Department (CPWD) officials, the emblem was divided over 150 segments and assembled on the roof. “Work to assemble it started in end-April. It took us nearly two months to complete the work,” said the official.
The new Parliament building is being constructed close to the existing one at a cost of ₹971 crore. Work on the new building started in January last year. The winter session of Parliament is expected to be held in the new building.
At the event, the PM interacted with workers involved in the construction of the new Parliament. “I had a wonderful interaction with the Shramjeevis who have been involved in the making of the Parliament. We are proud of their efforts and will always remember their contribution to our nation,” the PM tweeted.