Congress slams ruling govt for statues’ relocation within Parliament, calls it ‘unilateral’ move


PTI, Jun 16, 2024, 8:10 PM IST

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday claimed that the decision to relocate statues within the Parliament premises was taken by the ruling regime “unilaterally” and its sole objective was to not have the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar that have been traditional sites of democratic protests right next to where the Parliament actually meets.

The opposition party’s attack came ahead of Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar inaugurating the ‘Prerna Sthal’, which will house all statues of the freedom fighters and other leaders that were earlier placed at different places in the Parliament complex.

While the Congress has criticised the decision to remove the statues from their existing place, the Lok Sabha secretariat has said their placements at different places made it difficult for the visitors to see them properly.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that according to the Lok Sabha website, Parliament’s Committee on Portraits and Statues last met on December 18, 2018 and it was not even reconstituted during the 17th Lok Sabha (2019-2024) which also functioned for the first time without the Constitutional post of Deputy Speaker.

“Today, a major reconfiguration of statues in the Parliament complex is being inaugurated. Clearly it is a decision taken by the ruling regime unilaterally,” he said.

“Its sole objective is NOT to have statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Ambedkar–traditional sites of peaceful, legitimate and democratic protests–right next to where Parliament actually meets,” Ramesh said in a post on X.

The Mahatma Gandhi statue has thus been displaced not just once but actually twice, he said.

Ramesh added that the Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations will not have the same scale and significance in the Parliament complex, given that his statue no longer occupies a distinctive place.

The Lok Sabha secretariat has said the ‘Prerna Sthal’ has been constructed so that the dignitaries and other visitors coming to the Parliament House Complex could conveniently see and pay tributes at these statues in one place.

“An action plan has been made to make the life stories and messages of these great Indians available to the visitors through new technology,” it said.

The Congress has claimed that the idea behind relocating the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji among others is to ensure that they are not in a prominent place where the MPs could conduct peaceful and democratic protests.

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