Kharge writes to RS Chairman, LS Speaker on relocation of statues from parliament | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kharge writes to RS Chairman, LS Speaker on relocation of statues from parliament

ByNaresh Chander
Jun 19, 2024 05:39 PM IST

The Prerna Sthal, inaugurated recently by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, now hosts sculptures of prominent leaders that were earlier placed at various locations within the complex

New Delhi: Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has written to the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman opposing the relocation of statues of prominent leaders from designated spaces in the Parliament complex to the newly inaugurated Prerna Sthal and demanded that they should be restored to their original places.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (File Photo)
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (File Photo)

The Prerna Sthal, inaugurated recently by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, now hosts sculptures of prominent leaders that were earlier placed at various locations within the complex.

The Congress chief said the decision to relocate these statues without any consultation amounts to a violation of the basic spirit of democracy. He shared copies of the letter on his social media handle on X.

“The statues of many great leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, have been removed from their prominent places in the Parliament House Complex and relocated to a separate corner. I wish to emphasize at the very outset that such removal of these statues arbitrarily, without any consultation, violates the basic spirit of our democracy,” Kharge wrote.

“I demand that the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, and other national leaders who greatly contributed to the unity and integrity of our nation must be relocated to their original locations with due respect and regard,” the letter read.

Highlighting the importance of the designated spaces where the statues were placed, Kharge mentioned that “The statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, and other national leaders were situated at prominent locations after due deliberation and consideration. Each statue and its location across the Parliament House complex held immense value and significance.”

Also Read: Statues of freedom fighters and national icons moved to Prerna Sthal in Parliament complex

“The statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a meditative posture, originally installed on October 2, 1993, in front of the old Parliament Building, held immense significance for India’s democratic polity. Over the decades, this space had assumed sacrosanct value. Members of Parliament (MPs), as well as visitors, paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi, imbibing within themselves the spirit of the Mahatma,” he wrote, also mentioning that the space has been used by members to raise their voices to draw the government’s attention to important issues. “...It is at this place that members sought to voice concerns of the people in a democratic manner to draw the government’s attention and seek due redressal.”  

Emphasizing the importance of the statue of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution, which was also shifted to the Prerna Sthal, Kharge wrote, “The statue of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, which was installed on April 2, 1967, in the Parliament House precincts, held great significance due to its vantage point and posture. Babasaheb sought to convey to generations of parliamentarians the importance of steadfastly upholding the values and principles enshrined in the Constitution of India.”

He shared memories of his youth in the letter, stating, “In the mid-1960s, I was at the forefront of demanding the installation of the statue in the precincts of the Parliament House. Such concerted efforts eventually resulted in the installation of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue at its original place.”

Kharge expressed his concern over the government’s decision to relocate the statues and said that it was made without consulting the Committee on the Installation of Portraits and Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians. “There is a dedicated committee for installing portraits and statues of national leaders and MPs in the Parliament House Complex, comprising MPs from both Houses of Parliament. However, the committee has lamentably not been reconstituted since 2019.”

The Prerna Sthal was inaugurated by the Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, on Monday (June 17). It is a new dedicated area built to host the statues of all the freedom fighters and other prominent icons of the country. It includes the iconic statue of Mahatma Gandhi, which was earlier located outside the old Parliament building and has been a site for MPs to protest against the government.

Opposition leaders slammed the decision to shift the statues in “an arbitrary and unilateral manner” that went “against the rules and traditions of our Parliament”.

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