Indian Lawmakers Conclude Session in Old Parliament Building Amid Controversy Over New Facility

Feature and Cover - Indian Lawmakers Conclude Session in Old Parliament Building Amid Controversy Over New Facility

Indian lawmakers have wrapped up their final session in the current Parliament building before relocating to a new facility, in response to a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the
session, Modi celebrated India's parliamentary history and highlighted the recently concluded Group of 20 (G20) summit.

This move comes after major opposition parties boycotted the inauguration of the new Parliament back in May, deeming it extravagant. It marked a rare instance of unity against Modi’s Hindu nationalist ruling party, which has held power for nine years and is now seeking a third term in the upcoming elections.

The new Parliament building, characterized by its triangular shape, came with an estimated price tag of $120 million. It’s a part of a broader $2.8 billion renovation project in central New Delhi, aimed at modernizing British-era offices and residences. This comprehensive initiative, known as the “Central Vista” spans over 3.2 kilometers (1.9 miles) and encompasses new government ministry and department buildings, as well as Modi’s upcoming private residence.

During his speech in the lower house, Modi praised his government for its role in the G20 summit. This summit witnessed India’s pivotal role in brokering compromises among divergent
global powers on crucial global matters. Modi specifically underscored India's efforts in bringing the African Union into the G20 fold. He also mentioned the recent successful lunar mission, in which India’s spacecraft landed near the moon’s southern pole.

Modi’s address didn’t solely focus on recent achievements; he also delved into Parliament’s historical significance and highlighted some major decisions made by his government within the parliamentary context.

The announcement of this five-day special session last month drew criticism from opposition lawmakers, who argued that the Modi government had not been transparent about its
parliamentary agenda. Only last week did the government release a "tentative list" that outlined four proposed bills, including a contentious one expected to alter the process of appointing India’s chief election officer.

The new Parliament building is situated in close proximity to the old one, a circular structure designed by British architects in the early 20th century. The new facility, spanning four stories,
boasts a total of 1,272 seats across two chambers, nearly 500 more than the previous one.

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