Gandhi, Ambedkar, Shivaji statues shifted within Parliament premises, Cong slams move

NEW DELHI, Jun 6 : Statues of Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shivaji among others have been relocated within Parliament premises as part of a landscaping exercise, a move sharply criticised by the Congress which said they have been moved from their places of prominence in front of Parliament House.
The statues, including those of tribal leader Birsa Munda and Maharana Pratap, are now in a lawn between the old Parliament building and the Parliament library.
Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on X, “Statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar have just been removed from their places of prominence in front of the Parliament House. This is atrocious.”
Later, in a statement, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said 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 the 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 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.
“It is clear that no statue of any great person has been removed from the Parliament House complex, rather they are being installed in an orderly and respectful manner inside the Parliament House complex,” the statement said.
Attacking the BJP, Congress’s media and publicity department head Pawan Khera said when Maharashtra voters did not vote for BJP, the statues of Shivaji and Ambedkar were removed from their original place in Parliament.
When they did not get clean sweep in Gujarat, they removed the statue of Mahatma Gandhi from its original place in Parliament, he said.
“Just think, if they had been given 400 seats, would they have spared the Constitution?” Khera said in a post in Hindi on X.
In its statement, the Lok Sabha secretariat also 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 Mahatma 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 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 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.
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 said. (PTI)

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