India says goodbye to century-old parliament house built during British colonial era

New Delhi, Sep 18 (EFE).- Indian parliamentarians Monday bid adieu to its historic parliament house built almost a century ago during the British colonial era.

The lawmakers met for the last sitting in the old complex as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a special five-day session to move into the new legislative complex, the core project of his government’s Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has described the shift as a move to shed colonial symbols, like his controversial decision to use Bharat instead of India on several occasions during the recent G20 summit.

“All of us are saying goodbye to this historic building. Before independence, this house was the place for the Imperial Legislative Council,” Modi said. “After independence, this gained the identity of Parliament House.”

Modi pointed out that the decision to construct this building, which housed the two houses of the Indian parliament for the last 75 years, was taken by foreign rulers.

“But we can never forget and can proudly say that the toil, the hard work, and the money that went into the construction was that of my countrymen.”

On Tuesday, the 543 members of the lower house and the 245 of the upper house will gather for the first parliamentary session in the new building, constructed adjacent to the older one in the heart of the Indian capital.

Modi announced the five-day special session in early September, with an initially secret agenda that includes tabling several laws, such as a reform of the law that regulates the appointment of the electoral commission.

The mystery over the agenda prompted the opposition to allege that the Indian government intended to make Bharat the only official name for India after several documents during the G20 summit in New Delhi used that term.

The constitution specifies in its first article that India and Bharat are the official names of the country, although the use of the latter term in English is unusual.

Modi’s government has sought to eliminate the remains of the British colonial era, for example, last year renaming New Delhi’s iconic boulevard from Rajpath (Kingsway) to Kartavyapath (the road to duty). EFE


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