Congress Demands Parliament Statues Be Restored To Original Spots

Mallikarjun Kharge said making the decision without any consultation is "arbitrary" and "unilateral".

New Delhi:

Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge has written to the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha chairman, requesting that the statues of national icons -- Mahatma Gandhi, Shivaji, BR Ambedkar and others -- in Parliament Complex be returned to their original spots. The statues have been relocated to Prerna Sthal, a dedicated area at the back of the complex. The decision has been strongly criticised by Opposition parties, who are demanding a rollback.

Mr Kharge had posted his views on X on Sunday – when Prerna Sthal was inaugurated -- pointing out that the dedicated committee for such purposes, which includes MPs from both Houses, has not been reconstituted since 2019.

Underscoring the point today, he said making the decision without any consultation is "arbitrary" and "unilateral".

He posted his letter on X, in which he said the removal of the statues "arbitrarily, without any consultation, violates the basic spirit of our democracy".

The political row over the decision to shift the statues has been simmering for weeks. While there has been no response from the BJP, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has explained the decision in a statement.

"Due to their location at different places in the Parliament Complex, visitors were not able to view these statues conveniently. For this reason, all these statues are being respectfully installed in a grand Prerna Sthal in the Parliament House Complex itself," the statement read.

Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, who inaugurated Prerna Sthal on Sunday, said the spot is "motivational and inspirational and whoever spends time here will be inspired".

"People get inspiration from such great men...I think that the Prerna Sthal will always inspire the coming generations," said Om Birla, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha.