Govt insulted people as it removed statues of national icons from Parliament House premises: Sule

FILE- Supriya Sule

New Delhi, Jun 7: The Congress on Friday alleged that statues of Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji among others have been relocated within Parliament premises to ensure that Opposition parties cannot hold democratic protests, and said such “stunts” cannot save Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “unstable government” from falling.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh termed the Lok Sabha secretariat’s explanation for relocating the statues as “wholly bogus”, and said there has been no discussion with any political party on the matter.
In a statement, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said Thursday that due to their location at different places in the Parliament premises, visitors were not able to see these statues conveniently.
“For this reason, all these statues are being respectfully installed in a grand ‘Prerna Sthal’ in Parliament House premises. This ‘Prerna Sthal’ is being developed in such a way that the visitors coming to visit the Parliament complex view the statues of these great persons conveniently and get inspired by their life experiences,” the statement said.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat had asserted that the Parliament House complex comes under the jurisdiction of the Lok Sabha Speaker and earlier also, statues were shifted inside the complex with the permission of the Speaker.
Slamming the shift of statues, Ramesh said, “Yesterday at 2:30 PM, I had highlighted how the Modi regime was shifting the statues of Chhatrapati Maharaj, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Ambedkar away from prominent places they now occupy in front of Parliament House.”
“Rattled by photographs of these shifts that were also put out, late last night, well after 8PM, the Lok Sabha Secretariat was forced to issue a wholly bogus and clearly manufactured explanation for the shift. There has been NO discussion with any political party on these shifts,” he said in a post on X.
The real reason for the shifts can now be revealed, Ramesh said, adding that these statues were places where for the past 10 years Opposition parties – including the TDP and JDU – would stage peaceful and democratic protests against the Modi Government.
“Clearly the incoming one-third PM wants no place next to where Parliament meets where protests, even in a Constitutional manner, against him and his government can take place. Such stunts can no longer save him and his unstable Government from falling,” Ramesh said.
In its statement, the Lok Sabha secretariat said the arrangements are also being made to provide visitors with detailed information about the life and contribution of these great persons and freedom fighters through modern technology at this ‘prerna sthal’ so that the people visiting can get inspired by their life and thoughts.
The Parliament premises will sport a new look when the 18th Lok Sabha convenes for its maiden session in June as work is underway to integrate the entire complex, comprising four different buildings.
As part of the redevelopment of external areas, the statues of national icons, including those of Gandhi, Shivaji and Jyotiba Phule, were to be moved to a lawn near Gate No 5 of the old Parliament building, which has been named as Samvidhan Sadan.
This would pave the way for the creation of a vast lawn in front of the Gaja Dwar, which is used by the President and the prime minister to enter into the new Parliament building.
The lawn can also be used for official ceremonies such as the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament, usually during the Budget Session.
CPI general secretary D Raja has called the move to remove the statues from their original place a contempt of the ideals of freedom, liberty and equality.
“The arbitrary and unilateral decision to shift the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji in the Parliament House premise is condemnable. All statues in the Parliament House are erected in the honour of individuals who significantly contributed to our national life,” Raja said in a post on X.
Trinamool Congress MP Jawhar Sircar has said the government must explain why this was done.
“Who dared to remove statues of Mahatma Gandhi (our traditional protest site) and Babasaheb Ambedkar – from their hallowed sites in our Parliament compound? Has the statue of Shivaji also been removed? Are statues of (Nathuram) Godse & (Narendra) Modi coming up? The Government must explain,” he said in a post on X on Thursday.
Working president of NCP-SCP Supriya Sule said this is very “infuriating”.
“All these statues were erected by Indian citizens out of love for national heroes in the Parliament building area. The government has insulted all the countrymen by removing these statues. What is special is that today is the 350th anniversary of the coronation day of Shivaji,” she had said. (PTI)