Congress MP Jairam Ramesh on Saturday (23 September) slammed the new parliament building where the special session was held, calling it ‘Modi Multiplex' or ‘Modi Marriot’ and said that a better use of the new building will be found after "regime change" in 2024.
Taking to social media platform X, the Congress leader said he witnessed the death of ’confabulations' and ‘conversations’ both inside the two Houses and in the lobbies.
The new Parliament was inaugurated on 28 May this year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also laid its foundation stone in 2019.
The building is designed to have a lifespan of more than 150 years and has architectural styles from different parts of India incorporated in it.
The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha chambers have large seating capacities to accommodate more members than the old Parliament building.
The new complex has 888 seats in the Lok Sabha chamber and 384 seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber. Unlike the old parliament building, it does not have a central hall.
The Lok Sabha chamber of the new Parliament is also able to house 1,272 members in case of a joint session.
The rest of the building has four floors with offices for ministers and committee rooms.
Continuing his attack on the new Parliament, Ramesh said, "If architecture can kill democracy, the PM has already succeeded even without rewriting the Constitution".
He added, "binoculars are needed to see each other since the halls are simply not cozy or compact".
"The old Parliament building not only had a certain aura but it facilitated conversations. It was easy to walk between Houses, the Central Hall, and the corridors. This new one weakens the bonding needed to make the running of Parliament a success," Ramesh said.
“Quick coordination between the two Houses is now exceedingly cumbersome. In the old building, if you were lost, you would find your way back again since it was circular. In the new building, if you lose your way, you are lost in a maze. The old building gave you a sense of space and openness while the new one is almost claustrophobic," he added.
Claiming that the 'sheer joy' of 'hanging out' had disappeared, Ramesh called the new complex as ‘painful and agonising’.
“I am sure many of my colleagues across party lines feel the same. I have also heard from the staff in the Secretariat that the design of the new building has not considered the various functionalities required to help them do their work. This is what happens when no consultations are done with the people who will use the building," he said.
"Perhaps a better use for the new Parliament building will be found after regime change in 2024”, Ramesh added.
Hitting back at Ramesh over his remarks, BJP chief J P Nadda said, “Even by the lowest standards of the Congress Party, this is a pathetic mindset".
"This is nothing but an insult to the aspirations of 140 crore Indians. In any case, this isn’t the first time Congress is anti-Parliament. They tried in 1975 and it failed miserably”, he added.
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