PM Modi bids adieu to old Parliament building with paeans to Nehru

 Bidding farewell to the old Parliament building, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sang paeans to first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and subsequent leaders, including Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but also reminded the Lok Sabha of the ‘cash-for-vote’ scam during the Manmohan Singh government.

Initiating the discussion in the Lok Sabha on “Parliamentary Journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha — Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings”, Modi also said there were celebrations everywhere when three new states of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were created during Vajpayee’s time but lamented that Telangana being carved out of Andhra Pradesh led to only bitterness and bloodshed in both the states.

“It is a very emotional moment to bid farewell to this building. As we leave this building our mind is filled with many emotions and memories,” Modi said.

In his 52-minute speech, the prime minister recalled the bravery of Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt who hurled bombs in the same Parliament to wake up the British empire from its slumber.

“The echo of that bomb still gives sleepless nights to those who wish well for this country,” he said.

Singh and Dutt had hurled bombs in the Delhi Central legislative assembly (the present Parliament House).

Modi said it was in this Parliament that Pandit Nehru delivered his “tryst with destiny” speech “at the stroke of midnight hour” and his words continue to inspire everyone.

“In the same House, Atalji’s words about ‘sarkarein aayegi, jayegi; partiyan banegi, bigdegi; lekin yeh desh rehna chahiye’ (governments may come and go; parties may be formed or disbanded; but this nation has to live on) continue to echo even today,” Modi said.

The prime minister said the biggest achievement of these 75 years was that the common person’s trust in Parliament continues to grow.

“We may as well move to the new building, but this old building will always inspire generations to come,” he said.

Modi said it is also an occasion to hail everyone who have led this House and shared their vision for India, ranging from Pandit Nehru to Vajpayee.

They have given new direction to the nation under their leadership and today is an occasion to highlight their achievements, the prime minister said He also remembered Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Chandrashekhar and Lal Krishna Advani for enriching the House.

The prime minister also recalled the terror attack on Parliament and remembered those who took bullets on their chests to save members while fighting terrorists.

“It was not an attack on the building but an attack on the Mother of Democracy itself. It was an attack on the soul of India,” he said.

“I also salute those who faced bullets on their chests to save the House and its members while fighting the terrorists. They are not among us, but they have protected us in a great way,” he said.

The prime minister also lauded the contribution of B R Ambedkar, saying his vision for industrialisation, which was aimed at bringing social justice in the country during the first government of independent India, continues to remain at the heart of every industrial policy even today.

At the same time, there have been sad and emotive moments when Parliament witnessed loss of three serving prime ministers — Nehru, Shastri and Indira Gandhi — and they were paid rich tributes, he noted.

“This House also supported the liberation of Bangladesh under the leadership of Indira Gandhi,” he said.

At the same time, this House also witnessed an attack on democracy during the Emergency and through this House, the people also asserted their power as we saw the return of democracy, Modi added.

The prime minister also noted that the House saw the sittings of the Constituent Assembly for two years and 11 months and also was witness to the adoption and promulgation of the Constitution.

He said the House also benefited from the addresses of Presidents from Rajendra Prasad, APJ Kalam to Ram Nath Kovind and Droupadi Murmu.

The prime minister also recalled the dexterous handling of the House by Speakers from G V Mavlankar to Sumitra Mahajan and incumbent Om Birla.

“Everyone contributed in their own way, taking everyone along,” he said.

Modi said in the post-independence period, many learned people had raised various concerns about India.

“They voiced apprehensions about whether India would be able to thrive, whether it would
remain united, whether democracy in India would survive. But it is the power of this Parliament that the world was proven wrong. India thrived, despite all the doubts and darkness,” the prime minister said.

On a personal note, the prime minister said he had never imagined that a child from a poor family, who was living on a railway platform, would reach Parliament.

“But this is the strength of India’s democracy and a reflection of the faith of the common man of India towards democracy that a child from a poor family, living on the railway platform, reached Parliament,” he said.

Modi said it is believed in scriptures that when a name is chanted several times in the same rhythm, it becomes a sound of penance.

“Sound has the power to transform a place into a perfect place. I believe that the voice of 7,500 representatives in this House has made it a place of pilgrimage. When a person who has faith in democracy comes to see this place 50 years from now, he will feel the echo of the voice of the soul of India that once resonated here,” the prime minister added.

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