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An ode to the old Parliament: What happens to it now?

It has been standing tall and strong with each phase that this country had to face and has witnessed India’s transition from pre-Independent to an Independent state.

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An ode to the old Parliament: What happens to it now?

By Pratik Agrawal

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends… – India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his historic Tryst with Destiny speech.

With India all set to get a new Parliament building dedicated to the country on Sunday, a moment Nehru savoured in 1947 looks set for replication on May 28.

When all eyes are on the new Parliament, the old one must not be forgotten, the one that has been witness to history as free India made its baby steps and has now entered the so-called Amrit Kaal. So one must wonder what happens to the old Parliament now?

There has been no comprehensive thought given to what use it would be put to. The Union government has said conserving and rejuvenating the rich heritage of the old Parliament building is a matter of national importance.

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said earlier that the existing building would undergo renovation and be repaired for alternative uses. Some reports have said a portion of the old building could be converted into a museum for the general public.

Last November ahead of Constitution Day, Supreme Court Senior Advocate Pradeep Rai had made an exceptional wish when he had sought then Law Minister Kiren Rjiju’s assistance in shifting the Supreme Court from its current location to its original location, which was the old Parliament building itself.

The Federal Court of India, which was established in 1937 under the Government of India Act, 1935, was functioning in the Chamber of Princes in the Parliament House for 12 years until January 28, 1950 when it became the Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court then continued to function from the old Parliament building till 1958, when it was shifted to the present Supreme Court complex.

Old Parliament Building brief history

Originally known as Council House, the foundation stone of old Parliament was laid on February 12, 1921 and was completed in 6 years.

The now-heritage building was inaugurated by Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of British-ruled India on January 18, 1927.

The building was designed by Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens. It cost around Rs 83 lakh then to build it.

A witness to India’s modern history

It has been standing tall and strong with each phase that this country had to face and has witnessed India’s transition from pre-Independent to an Independent state.

  • The most obvious moment for democratic India is the day it achieved independence from the British yoke. It was the one wish which had been dreamt of by thousands who embraced martyrdom.
  • The adoption of the Constitution in 1950 that declared India a republic giving its own supreme law and a federal structure in functioning.

Not free from attack

On November 7, 1966, Parliament faced its first attack when a large mob of gaurakshaks, sadhus from across the country marched to it demanding a ban on cow slaughter across the country.

The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had just completed 10-months in power and was facing a no-confidence motion but in view of the attack, she ordered firing on the assaulters leading to the death of seven people. A policeman died as well.

Parliament attack, December 13, 2001

A terrorist attack on Parliament meant a direct attack on India, its people and democracy. At around 11:30 am, five terrorists drove into the Parliament complex firing AK-47 rounds but brave Watch and Ward staff and police foiled them from entering the House, which had that time’s leading politicians in it.

Speeches that found their way into history books

At the hour of independence, Jawaharlal Nehru made his Tryst with Destiny address and India woke up to independence.

The “Grammar of Anarchy” by Dr BR Ambedkar, the chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution.

On November 25, 1949, Dr Ambedkar reminded the people of India about the responsibilities they got upon becoming independent. Ambedkar said now there was no chance of an excuse to blame the British, if anything goes wrong and if things go wrong thereafter, it will be the entire responsibility of us the people of Independent India.

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mic-drop moment came when he taught the world how to resign in style. On May 31, 1996, facing a trust vote, Vajpayee delivered a speech that showed rare visuals from Parliament — a day when the Opposition was also all ears to Vajpayee speaking without making an uproar.

There are many such instances when Parliament was a mute witness to epochal speeches by parliamentarians.

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Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj set to make poll debut in upcoming Lok Sabha elections

Bansuri Swaraj is a distinguished lawyer and brings wealth of experience in legal procedures to the political arena. She had been appointed by the BJP as the co-convenor of BJP’s Delhi legal cell last year. She has 15 years of experience as an advocate as she had enrolled in the Bar Council of Delhi in 2007

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Bansuri Swaraj, the daughter of former foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is set to make her poll debut in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In its first list of candidates, BJP announced that Swaraj will contest from the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat. Soon after her name was announced, Swaraj said she will try to live up to the legacy set by her mother, who she was sure sending her blessings from heaven.

She said this achievement does not belong to Bansuri Swaraj, but every karyakarta (worker) of Delhi BJP. Bansuri Swaraj is a distinguished lawyer and brings wealth of experience in legal procedures to the political arena. She had been appointed by the BJP as the co-convenor of BJP’s Delhi legal cell last year.

She has 15 years of experience as an advocate as she had enrolled in the Bar Council of Delhi in 2007. She completed her graduation in English Literature from the University of Warwick and pursued a law degree from the prestigious BPP law School in London. Her academic qualifications include qualifying as Barrister at Law and being called to the bar from the honorable Inn of Inner Temple, London.

After enhancing her legal credentials, she completed her Masters of Studies from St Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford. Throughout her professional career, Bansuri has carved a niche for herself in the legal domain, representing high profile clients in contentious litigation. Her expertise includes a large number of legal areas, including disputes involving contracts, real estate, tax, international commercial arbitrations, and criminal trials.

Last year Bansuri launched a scathing attack on the Aam Aadmi Party over the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Ammendment Bill), 2023. During a press conference she categorized AAP government as jhagdalu (quarrelsome) and nikammi (useless). She congratulated Droupadi Murmu for passing the bill and expressed confidence that the administration in Delhi would operate in accordance with the law.

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Mallikarjun Kharge criticises Centre over Make in India, says government has failed due to complete inaction in creating jobs and utilising funds

The Congress leader took to X and posted the Modi government failed to realize Make in India! The loud drumbeating on their interventions in the manufacturing sector has been drowned by complete inaction. He further asked why the value added by manufacturing in India’s GDP decreased from 16% to 13% over the past ten years.

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Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday targeted the Centre over Make in India and said the Modi government has failed to complete inaction in creating jobs and utilising funds. He asked many questions as to why the government has failed to create enough jobs and on the under utilisation of funds in key sectors to promote manufacturing in India.

The Congress leader took to X and posted the Modi government failed to realize Make in India! The loud drumbeating on their interventions in the manufacturing sector has been drowned by complete inaction. He further asked why the value added by manufacturing in India’s GDP decreased from 16% to 13% over the past ten years.

Kharge also asked why the average manufacturing growth had declined under the BJP government at the Centre. He said it was 7.85% during the Congress – UPA government which plunged to 6% only. He said the Modi government had promised 10 crore manufacturing jobs by 2022. Kharge asked where are the jobs? He asked why has the workforce in manufacturing declined in the last 10 years?

The Congress leader also pointed out a majority of the Production-Linked Incentives (PLI) Scheme has failed to take off? He asked why has there been a massive under-utilisation of funds for key sectors? He added 96% of funds for the PLI scheme in the textiles sector remained unused.

Kharge said no funds had been provided for the PLI scheme in the renewable sector and 95% of funds for the scheme in the white goods for manufacture of components and sub- assemblies of AC’s and LEDs remain unused. He failed to understand the percentage increase in India’s exports, which was 549% during Congress-UPA, declined to just 90% during the Modi government?He slammed Centre over rise in imports from China despite border transgressions.

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2024 Lok Sabha elections: PM Modi to contest again from Varanasi, Amit Shah from Gandhinagar, 34 ministers in BJP first list for 195 seats

Home Minister Amit Shah will be contesting again from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

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With the winter making way for spring, election season is here with the BJP announcing the first list of candidates for 195 constituencies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is again contesting from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Home Minister Amit Shah from Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow.

In all, 34 ministers have been fielded. Other prominent leaders include Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani from Amethi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla from Kota. Notably, the party has fielded a Muslim candidate, Dr Abdul Salam, from Malappuram in Kerala.

Earlier today, East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and Minister of State Jayant Sinha had opted out of the contest indicating they will not be fielded by the party from East Delhi and Hazaribagh.

The 195-seat list includes 51 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 20 in West Bengal, 24 in Madhya Pradesh, 15 each in Gujarat and Rajasthan, 12 in Kerala, 9 in Telangana, 11 each in Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, 5 in Delhi, 2 in Jammu and Kashmir 3 in Uttarakhand, 2 in Arunachal Pradesh, 1 each in Goa, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar and Daman Diu respectively.  

The Prime Minister has been touring the country inaugurating a slew of projects across the country. He has also been attacking the Congress for not having the guts to face the people, an oblique reference to Sonia Gandhi looking at a seat in the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan. The vacating of Rae Bareli by Sonia Gandhi is being seen as paving the way for daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The candidates named for the seats in Delhi include Praveen Khandelwal, sitting MP Manoj Tiwari and Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj.

In Kerala, IT MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar will contest from Thiruvananthapuram, Congress leader AK Antony’s son Anil K Antony from Pathanamthitta and Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi from Thrissur.

Former Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay has been fielded from Karimnagar and G Kishan Reddy from Secunderabad. Former Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb has been fielded from Tripura West.

In Uttar Pradesh, Dr Mahesh Sharma has been nominated for Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida), Hema Malini from Mathura, SP Singh Baghel from Agra and Ajay Mishra Teni from Kheri.

The party has not announced a candidate for Kaiserganj, which is currently represented by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the former Wrestling Federation of India chief, who is under a cloud of sexual harassment charges.

After getting elected from the Rajya Sabha earlier, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will also be contesting from Porbandar in Gujarat. Interestingly, the Rajya Sabha member and minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar will contest from the Thiruvananthapuram seat, which is held by the Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. 

Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia will be contesting from Guna in Madhya Pradesh, a constituency the former Congress leader had a grip on since 2002 but he lost to the BJP’s Krishna Pal Singh Yadav in 2019. Rajya Sabha MP Bhupender Yadav will be contesting from Alwar and Union Minister Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal West.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be contesting from Vidisha in the Lok Sabha elections. Last year, Chouhan could not make it to the Chief Minister post despite the BJP’s stunning victory.

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