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Kharge writes to Lok Sabha Speaker, RS Chairman over relocation of statues in Parliament

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New Delhi, June 19: Amid the verbal exchange between BJP and the Opposition over shifting of statues inside the Parliament House complex, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday wrote a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman and demanded that they be reinstalled at their original positions.

“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,” Kharge charged in the letter.

He said that the removal of the statues “violates the basic spirit of our democracy” and added that the placement of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in front of the Parliament building was done after due deliberations and it also holds immense value in 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. It is at this place that Members sought to voice concerns of the people in a democratic manner to draw the attention of the government seeking due redressal,” the Congress chief said.

Further expressing reservations over relocation of Babasaheb’s statue, he cited experiences of his student days and said the vantage position facilitated seamless movement of people paying their tributes to him on his birth and death anniversaries.

“During my student days in the mid-1960s, I was at the forefront of demanding installation of the statue in the precincts of the Parliament House. Such concerted efforts eventually resulted in installation of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue at the place where it was hitherto before placed. I am constrained to state this with anguish that all this has now been brought to a naught in an arbitrary and unilateral manner,” wrote Kharge.

Kharge’s letter seeking reinstallation of statues of Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar and other national icons to original positions comes ahead of the first Parliament session of the 18th Lok Sabha, beginning June 24.

Notably, the shifting of statues of national icons and freedom fighters inside the Parliament complex saw the Opposition going up in arms against the Centre’s “arbitrary and unilateral” move.

The Government however rubbished the Opposition charges and said that the ‘prerna sthal’ hosting the statues at one place will give the visitors a better sense and understanding of the country’s rich legacy.

– IANS

mr/gcb/rad

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