Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, inaugurated the new Parliament building, describing it as symbolic of India’s transformation from an emerging power to a developed nation.

In a ceremony marked with splendour and religiosity with priests having been flown in from Tamil Nadu and a sceptre — Sengol, signifying the transfer of power from the British — installed in the Lok Sabha, the PM said the complex will “witness the realisation of our developed India resolution”. The new building was inaugurated with a “havan” ceremony conducted by the priests, followed by a multi-faith prayer.

‘Need of the hour’

“The new Parliament building will be a testament to the dawn of Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). It will be a witness to our journey towards a developed India,” Modi said while addressing the packed new Lok Sabha chamber, which has a seating capacity of 888. “We also have to see that the number of seats and MPs will increase in the coming time. A new Parliament was the need of the hour,” he said.

In the old Parliament building, 543 members could be seated in the Lok Sabha and 250 in the Rajya Sabha.

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Amid ‘Modi, Modi’ chants and a standing ovation, the Prime Minister walked into the new building for the second phase of the inauguration ceremony. While the sprawling new chambers of the Lok Sabha were packed with Ministers, Members of Parliament and other dignitaries — including former President Ram Nath Kovind, former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Chief Ministers from various States, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories, judges — the absence of 20 main Opposition parties was conspicuous.

Opposition’s boycott

The Opposition boycotted the event to drive home the point that it is not PM, the head of the government, but President Droupadi Murmu, Head of the State, who should have inaugurated the new Parliament building. They likened the ceremony to the “coronation of a king” — the antithesis of democratic ethos.

“Parliament is the voice of the people. The PM is treating the inauguration of new Parliament building as his coronation,” said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Modi focused on the symbolism of the event and how the new building reflects the sunrise of a self-reliant India. India is not only a democratic country but also the “mother of democracy”, he said, adding that the world has a new-found respect to and hope from India. “When India develops, the world progresses,” he said.

Modi also released a special commemorative stamp and ₹75 coin to mark the inauguration.