The heated debate on whether the new Parliament building should be inaugurated by PM Modi or President Murmu took the backseat on Friday, with the Tamil relic ‘Sengol’ becoming the centrepiece of the political discourse.
The BJP government, which wants the Parliament makeover to carry a distinct Indian identity, has not spared any effort to appropriate icons of Indian culture and tradition to reinforce its nationalist credentials. However, the seemingly innocuous exercise has acquired political overtones, more so because parliamentary elections are due in 2024.
Congress alleges Sengol used for pursuing political agenda in Tamil Nadu
The ‘Sengol,’ which is to be installed next to the Speaker’s chair in the new Parliament, has been described as a ‘symbol of transfer of power’ by the British to India – a notion that was planted in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s head by C. Rajagopalachari – and which, in turn, led to the handing over of the golden scepter by the last Viceroy Mountbatten to the first Indian prime minister. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday claimed there is no documented evidence of Lord Mountbatten, Rajagopalachari and Nehru nursing the notion that the 'Sengol' was a symbol of transfer of power.
He also alleged that PM Modi and his ‘drum-beaters’ are using the ceremonial scepter for pursuing their political agenda in Tamil Nadu. Ramesh said on Twitter, "This is typical of this brigade that embroiders facts to suit its twisted objectives. The real question is why President Murmu is not being allowed to inaugurate the new Parliament."
"Is it any surprise that the new Parliament is being consecrated with typically false narratives from WhatsApp University? The BJP-RSS historians stand exposed yet again with maximum claims and minimum evidence to back the same," Congress general secretary communications Ramesh said in his tweet.
Amit Shah slams Congress over Sengol dispute
Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday hit out at the Congress over its claim that there is no documented evidence of anybody describing the 'Sengol' as a symbol of the transfer of power by the British to India. "Why does the Congress party hate Indian traditions and culture so much? A sacred Sengol was given to Pandit Nehru by a holy Saivite Mutt from Tamil Nadu to symbolize India's freedom but it was banished to a museum as a 'walking stick'," he tweeted, accusing the grand old party of heaping "another shameful insult". The Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam, a holy Saivite Mutt, itself spoke about the importance of the Sengol at the time of Independence, Shah said, accusing the Congress of rubbishing Adheenam's history as "bogus".
On Thursday, the BJP had also alleged that the Congress had displayed its wanton disregard for Hindu traditions by derisively referring to the sacred 'Sengol' as a "golden stick’’ which Nehru had coyly tucked away in a museum.
About the Opposition boycott to inauguration event
Determined to boycott the transition to new Parliament, the Opposition parties have said the prime minister's decision to inaugurate it by himself, "completely sidelining President Murmu, is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy which demands a commensurate response".
"Why does the Congress party hate Indian traditions and culture so much? A sacred Sengol was given to Pandit Nehru by a holy Saivite Mutt from Tamil Nadu to symbolize India's freedom but it was banished to a museum as a 'walking stick'," Amit Shah tweeted, accusing the grand old party of heaping "another shameful insult".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the new Parliament building will make every Indian proud, as he posted a video of the newly-constructed complex on Twitter and urged people to share it on the social media platform with the hashtag 'MyParliamentMyPride'.
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