Parliament Special Session: PM Modi talks about Chandrayaan, G20 Success, Shift to New Building

A five-day special session of the Parliament began today, as PM Narendra Modi addressed media before the session.

Shortly before the commencement of the special session of the Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the media saying that, ‘This session of the Parliament is short but going by the time, it is huge. This is a session of historic decisions. A specialty of this session is that the journey of 75 years is starting from a new destination…Now, while taking forward the journey from a new place…we have to make the country a developed country by 2047. For this, all the decisions of the time to come will be taken in the new Parliament building’

The Special Session of the parliament will see parliamentary proceedings shift from the old to the adjacent new building on Tuesday. PM Modi said that on 19 September, on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, the MPs are slated to move to the new building. He said the special session will be ‘short but historic decisions will be taken during the five days,’ before speaking and addressing his fellow Parliamentarians at 11 am in the House.

Hailing ISRO’s successful moon mission, he added ‘Success of Moon Mission — Chandrayaan-3 has hoisted our Tiranga, Shiv Shakti Point has become a new centre of inspiration, Tiranga Point is filling us with pride. Across the world, when such an achievement is made, it is viewed by linking it to modernity, science, and technology. When this capability comes before the world, several opportunities and possibilities knock at the doors of India.’

On Sunday, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar had hoisted the national flag at the new Parliament building. Dhankhar hoisted the flag atop ‘Gaja Dwar’ of the new Parliament building.

A discussion on ‘Parliamentary Journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha – Achievements, Experiences, Memories and Learnings’ was held in Parliament on the first day of the five-sitting long special session.

Around eight bills have been listed for consideration and passage during the five-day session.

The announcement of the Special Session came as a surprise in political circles as well as the Opposition, with five states going to polls later this year.

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi requests Opposition to attend session

24 parties of the INDIA Bloc have agreed to participate in the special session of the Parliament. The decision was taken at a meeting of INDIA Bloc floor leaders.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Monday requested the opposition parties to attend the Special Parliament Session beginning today.

He said the government has already clarified the agenda of the Special Parliament Session in the all-party meeting on Sunday.

Special Session of the Parliament commences

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla commenced the special session of the Parliament by congratulating the nation for successfully organizing the G20 Summit.

‘G20 Summit success is that of entire country, not of one person alone or one party’ PM Modi said starting his speech as well.

‘Before Independence, this Parliament was the place of imperial legislative council. After the Independence, it got the identity of Sansad Bhawan. While it is true that constructing this building was the decision of the foreign rulers, but we can never forget and can say it proudly that the sweat, hard work and money used in building it was of my countrymen,’ PM Modi began.

“When I entered the (Parliament) building for the first time as a Parliament member, I bowed my head at the doorstep to pay respect to this temple of democracy,’ he said. 

“We (MPs) of the Parliament are like family members. MPs have always fulfilled their responsibilities despite heath issues. Some came in wheelchairs, some have attended the proceeding after surgery…Even during the pandemic, MPs continued working for the country,” PM Modi.

On the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that proceedings will commence at the new Parliament buildings. ‘Tomorrow, on Ganesh Chaturthi, we will move to the new Parliament. Lord Ganesha is also known as ‘Vighnaharta’, now there will be no obstacles in the development of the country,’ PM Modi said.

‘Emotional moment to bid goodbye to this building; many bitter-sweet memories have been associated with it,’ PM Modi said, talking about historic moments in the old building.

‘When I first entered this building as member, I never imagined that I will get so much love from people.’

‘Inside this parliament building, decisions like revocation of Article 370, launch of GST, and several other decisions were taken,’ PM Modi said.

‘By just one vote, Atal Vajpayee’s government fell in this building,’ “It is this august house that has seen active contribution from members aged 25 as well as those aged 93,” PM Modi said.

PM Modi lauded the contribution of chamber attendants and House officials in ensuring smooth functioning of Parliament, saying ‘ the biggest achievement of 75 years of this House is the ever-growing trust of the people in Parliament.’

‘There have been sweet and sour experiences, there has also been an atmosphere of bickering, and sometimes an atmosphere of conflict and sometimes, there has been an atmosphere of joy as well. All these memories are our shared memories, our shared heritage and hence, its pride is also our shared,’ the PM said.

The PM didn’t shy away from leveling criticism at the Congress’ past tenures, saying ‘this House also witnessed ‘cash for votes’ scam during the tenure of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.’

PM Modi concluded his last speech, however, at the Old Parliament building on a positive note, acknowledging the work done by Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh.

He praised Jawaharlal Nehru, as well as Indira Gandhi for making tough decisions during their tenures as Prime Minister.

‘Nehru’s ‘At the stroke of Midnight Hour’ poem will always echo inside the premises of the old Parliament building,’ PM Modi said.

‘This Parliament will remember Indira Gandhi’s decision on Pakistan’s partition and formation of Bangladesh,’ he added.

Speaking about the contribution of women to parliamentary democracy, PM Modi said ‘Women have remarkably improved the dignity of the Parliament,’ he specifically praised the presence of approximately 600 women MPs, emphasizing their role in enhancing the dignity of both Houses.

This recognition highlighted the importance of diverse representation in India’s parliamentary system and celebrated the invaluable contributions of women leaders in shaping the nation’s legislative landscape.

Rajya Sabha MP Saroj Pandey hailed PM Modi for adding more women into his cabinet. 

Opposition parties criticized the BJP-led central government for not disclosing the agenda

Mallikarjun Kharge said in his poetic speech addressing the Centre in the Rajya Sabha, ‘Change the way you do your politics, nothing new will happen if we shift to a new parliament’

Kharge added, ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave statement 21 times, Manmohan Singh gave 30 times during their tenure, Kharge said. However apart from few ‘customary comments’, PM Modi gave his statement only twice.’

‘Architect of modern India – Nehru – had said that parliamentary democracy demands many virtues which are ability, certain devotion to work, and also a large measure of corporation of self discipline and restrain,’ Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.

Congress party has demanded that the Women’s Reservation Bill must be passed during the special session of Parliament. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, ‘Rajiv Gandhi first introduced Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation in panchayats and nagarpalikas in May 1989. It passed in Lok Sabha but failed in Rajya Sabha in September 1989.’

He said Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao reintroduced Constitution Amendment Bills for one-third reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in April 1993 and both Bills passed and became law.

‘Now there are more than 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and nagarpalikas. This comes to about 40%,’ the Congress leader said

‘As PM, Dr Manmohan Singh brought a Constitution Amendment Bill for one-third reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures. Bill passed on March 9, 2010, in Rajya Sabha. But it was not taken up in Lok Sabha,’ Ramesh said.

DMK MP Tiruchi Siva has alleged that the winter session of the Parliament has been brought forward. He slammed the government for hiding the agenda of the special session. ‘What’s on the agenda of the government, we are still not aware of it. So we are still in the dark. This session and the bills that have been listed don’t correlate,’ the MP said.

Hours before the special session of the Parliament, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) issued a whip on Monday for all its MPs in the Rajya Sabha.

The party said, ‘All members of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Rajya Sabha are hereby, informed that some very important issues will be taken up in the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming special session. In view of this, all members of the Aam Aadmi Party are requested to be positively present in the house from 11 AM onwards until the adjournment of the House from 18th September to 22nd September 2023 and support the stand of the party.’

Govt runs Parliament in secrecy,’ says Congress MP

Congress MP Manickam Tagore hit out at the Central government ahead of the special session of the Parliament. He accused the government of keeping everything in secrecy regarding the agendas of Parliament. ‘They have just listed 8 bills in the agenda and in the All Party Meeting yesterday also they talked about these 8 subjects only. This government runs the Parliament in secrecy…The new Parliament which they have made with star facilities… I hope that our PM answers at least one question in the new Parliament,’ the Congress MP said.

‘First time there will be no question hour,’ Congress leader slammed Centre

Congress MP Shakti Singh Gohil said they are unaware of what would be discussed during the special session of the Parliament. Gohil said, “It is said in our parliamentary practice & procedure that members should be shown the draft of the bill and government business…When a special session is being called the members should be told in advance about the business…It is for the first time that there will be no question hour or zero hour in this session…”.

Ten takeaways from PM Modi’s speech

On the last day at the premises of the old Parliament building, PM Modi’s hour-long speech in Lok Sabha would be the last speech of the prime minister at the old Parliament.

PM Modi remembered some of the key moments of the Parliament in the past 75 years.

  • It is true that the decision to construct this building 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
  • The echo of Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru’s ‘at the stroke of midnight’ in this Parliament will continue to inspire us. And this is that very Parliament where Atal Ji said ‘sarkaren ayyengi, jayengi; partiyan banegi, bigedgi; magar ye desh rahna chahiye (governments and parties will come and go, but the country should remain)
  • Celebrations everywhere when Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand carved out; but creation of Telangana left bitter memories
  • This Parliament saw a party with just four MPs sitting in power, while the party with more than 100 MPs sat in opposition
  • This House also witnessed ‘cash for votes’ scam during the tenure of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
  • Over 7,500 members have so far contributed to both Houses; about 600 women MPs have enhanced dignity of both Houses
  • When this Parliament lost three serving PMs — Nehru ji, Shastri ji and Indira ji — they were given fitting tribute
  • We will move to new Parliament building, but this old building will also always inspire coming generations
  • Biggest achievement of 75 years of this House is the ever-growing trust of the people in Parliament
  • When I first entered this building as member, I never imagined that I will get so much love from people
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India’s Old Parliament Building: What Happens To It?

The Parliament House, which will soon hand over its position as the country’s hallowed legislature to a new complex, has stood for over 96 years as a repository of India’s democratic journey.

India’s old Parliament was opened on 18 January 1927 by Lord Irwin, then-viceroy. The building has witnessed colonial rule, the Second World War, the dawn of Independence, the adoption of the Constitution, and the passage of many legislations — some landmark and many controversial.

The building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker who, along with Sir Edwin Lutyens, was chosen to design the new imperial capital in Delhi.

Historians and conservation architects describe the old edifice as a ‘repository of India’s history” and its ‘democratic ethos ‘and an ‘ jewel’ of Delhi.

Government sources say the building won’t be demolished and that it will be ‘retrofitted’ to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events.

In 2021, the then Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had told the Rajya Sabha the existing structure would have to be repaired and made available for alternative use

The national archives will be shifted to the new parliament building for heritage-sensitive restoration, they said. This will further help the old Parliament building with more space.

Some reports also suggest that a part of the old building could be converted into a museum.