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India gets new parliament building as Modi remakes capital's centre

India gets new parliament building as Modi remakes capital's centre

Friday, May 26, 2023, 14:14 GMT+7
India gets new parliament building as Modi remakes capital's centre
A labourer works at the under construction site of the new parliament building in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a new parliament complex on Sunday, the centrepiece of a $2.4 billion project that aims to reconstruct British colonial-era buildings in the capital's centre and give it a distinct Indian identity.

The inauguration, and the ongoing makeover of the heart of New Delhi based on Indian culture, traditions and symbols, comes a year before parliamentary elections in which Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will pitch its strong Hindu nationalist credentials, besides its performance in office over the last decade, to seek a third term.

The Modi government has also similarly renovated some of Hinduism's most revered pilgrimage centres since first sweeping to power in 2014.

The new, triangular-shaped parliament complex is just across from the heritage building built by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in 1927, two decades before India's independence.

Labourers work at the under construction site of the new parliament building in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2023.Photo: Reuters

Labourers work at the under construction site of the new parliament building in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters

The old parliament will be converted into a museum, the government has said.

It has said a new parliament building is badly needed as the existing structure "is highly stressed" for a number of reasons including capacity, infrastructure, technology and safety.

The new building, Modi said when he launched its construction in December 2020 during the pandemic, "would become a witness to the creation of a self-reliant India", underlining another pet theme.

Besides modern technology, the new parliament has a total of 1,272 seats in two chambers, nearly 500 more than the old building, and at least three times as much space.

It features four storeys and halls themed according to the national symbols of the peacock, lotus and banyan tree, and murals, sculptures and art from across the country capturing 5,000 years of Indian civilisation, said an architect directly involved in the project.

An auto rickshaw drives pasts in front of the under construction site of the new parliament building in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters

An auto rickshaw drives pasts in front of the under construction site of the new parliament building in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Labourers work at the under construction site of the new parliament building in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2023.Photo: Reuters

Labourers work at the under construction site of the new parliament building in New Delhi, India, May 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Reuters

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