The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the Special Session of Parliament in Lok Sabha today. The Special Session is taking place from the 18th to the 22nd of September 2023.
Addressing the House, the Prime Minister remarked that today is an occasion to recollect and reminisce the parliamentary journey of 75 years of India before the proceedings are shifted to the newly inaugurated building. Speaking about the Old Parliament Building, the Prime Minister mentioned that the building served as the Imperial Legislative Council before India’s independence and was recognised as the Parliament of India post-independence. He pointed out that even though the decision to construct this building was made by foreign rulers, it was the hard work, dedication and money spent by Indians that went towards its development. In the journey of 75 years, Shri Modi said, this house has created the best of the conventions and traditions which has seen the contribution of all and witnessed by all. “We might be shifting to the new building but this building will keep on inspiring the coming generation. As it is a golden chapter of the journey of Indian democracy”, he said.
The Prime Minister noted the renewed confidence, achievement and capabilities that are being infused in the first light of the Amrit Kaal, and how the world is discussing India’s and Indians’ achievements. “This is a result of the collective effort of our 75 years of Parliamentary History”, he said.
Referring to the success of Chandrayaan 3, Shri Modi said that it brings forth another dimension of India’s capabilities which is linked with modernity, science, technology and the prowess of our scientists and the strength of 140 crore Indians. The Prime Minister conveyed the compliments of the House and the nation to the scientists for their achievement.
The Prime Minister recalled how the House commended the nation’s efforts at the time of NAM summit in the past and expressed gratitude for the acknowledgement of the success of G20 by the Chair. The Prime Minister said that the success of G20 is of 140 crore Indians and not of any particular individual or party. He underlined the success of more than 200 events in more than 60 places in India as a manifestation of the success of India’s diversity. ‘India will always feel pride for the inclusion of the African Union in G20 during its presidency’, he said recalling the emotional moment of the inclusion.
Pointing out the negative tendencies of a few people to create doubt about the capabilities of India, the Prime Minister stated that a consensus was achieved for the G20 Declaration and a roadmap for the future was created here. Underlining that India’s G20 Presidency lasts till the final day of November, and the nation intends to utilize it to the fullest, the Prime Minister supported the Speaker’s resolution to conduct a P20 Summit (Parliamentary 20) under his chairship.
He said, “It is a matter of pride for all that India has carved a place for itself as ‘Vishwa Mitra’ and the entire world is seeing a friend in India. Reasons for that are our ‘Sanskaars’ that we gathered from Vedas to Vivekanand. The Mantra of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas is uniting us to bring the world with us ”.
Drawing an analogy to a family that shifts into a new home, the Prime Minister said that it is a very emotional moment to bid farewell to the Old Parliament building. He reflected on the various moods that the House has witnessed in all these years and said that these memories are the preserved heritage of all the members of the house. “Its glory also belongs to us”, he added. He remarked that the nation has witnessed countless incidents related to the creation of New India in the 75-year-old history of this Parliament House and today is an opportunity to express respect for the ordinary citizen of India.
The Prime Minister recalled when, as the first-time MP, he came to Parliament and paid his obeisance by bowing to the building. He said that it was an emotional moment and he could not have imagined that but he said “It is the power of the democracy of India that a poor child who used to earn livelihood on a railway station reached Parliament. I never imagined that the nation would give me this much love, respect and blessings”, he said.
Quoting the Upanishad sentence inscribed on the gate of the Parliament, the Prime Minister said that the sages said to open the doors for the people and see how they attain their rights. Shri Modi said that current and past members of the House are the witness to the correctness of this assertion.
The Prime Minister highlighted the changing composition of the house with passage of the time as it grew more inclusive and representatives from all sections of society started coming to the House. “Inclusive atmosphere has kept manifesting the aspirations of the people with full power”, he said. The Prime Minister noted the contributions of women parliamentarians that have helped in growing the dignity of the House.
Giving a rough estimation, the Prime Minister informed that more than 7500 public representatives have served in both Houses where the number of women representatives is approximately 600. He also informed that Shri Indrajit Gupta Ji has served for almost 43 years in this House, and Shri Shafiqur Rahman served at the age of 93 years. He also mentioned Ms Chandrani Murmu who was elected to the House at the young age of 25
The Prime Minister noted a sense of family in the House despite arguments and sarcasm and called this a major quality of the House as bitterness never lingers. He also remembered how, despite severe ailments, the members came to the House to perform their duties including during the difficult time of pandemic.
Recalling the scepticism during the initial years of the Independence about the viability of the new nation, the Prime Minister said that it is the strength of the Parliament that all the doubts proved wrong.
Recalling the sittings of the Constituent Assembly for 2 years and 11 months in the same House and the adoption and promulgation of the Constitution, the Prime Minister said that “in the 75 years the biggest achievement has been the continuously growing trust of the common citizen in their Parliament”. He said that the house benefitted from the addresses of Presidents from Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Kalam to Shri Ramnath Kovind to Smt Droupadi Murmu.
Referring from the times of Pandit Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister said that they have given new direction to the nation under their leadership and today is an occasion to highlight their achievements. He also touched upon Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, Chandra Shekhar, Lal Krishna Advani and others who have enriched the discussions in the House and emboldened the voice of the common citizens. Shri Modi also highlighted the address by various foreign leaders in the House which brings to the fore their respect for India.
He also recalled moments of pain when the nation lost three Prime Ministers while still in office- Nehru Ji, Shastri Ji and Indira Ji.
The Prime Minister also recalled the dexterous handling of the house by the speakers despite many challenges. He said they created reference points in their decisions. He remembered that 17 Speakers including 2 women from Shri Mavlankar to Smt Sumitra Mahajan to Shri Om Birla everyone contributed in their way, taking everyone along. The Prime Minister also acknowledged the contribution of the staff of the Parliament.
Recalling the terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Prime Minister said that it was not an attack on the building but an attack on the Mother of Democracy itself. “It was an attack on the soul of India”, the Prime Minister interjected. He acknowledged the contributions of those who stood between the terrorists and the House to protect its members and paid tributes to the bravehearts.
The Prime Minister also remembered the journalists who have dedicated their lives to reporting the proceedings of the Parliament, even without the use of the latest technology. He mentioned that bidding farewell to the Old Parliament will be an even tougher task for them as they have been connected with the establishment more than its members.
Throwing light on the ritual of Naad Brahma when a place turns to pilgrimage owing to the constant incantations in its vicinity, the Prime Minister said that the echoes of the 7500 representatives have turned the Parliament into a pilgrimage even if discussions cease here.
“Parliament is where Bhagat Singh and Battukeshwar Dutt had created panic among the British with their valor and courage”, the Prime Minister remarked. He stated that the echoes of ‘Stroke of Midnight’ by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru will continue to inspire every citizen of India. He also recalled Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous speech and quoted, “Governments will come and go. Parties will be made and unmade. This country should survive, its democracy should survive”.
Recalling the first Council of Ministers, Shri Modi remembered how Baba Saheb Ambedkar included best practices from all over the world. He also mentioned the brilliant water policy made by Baba Saheb in the Nehru Cabinet. The Prime Minister also mentioned the emphasis of Baba Saheb over industrialization for the empowerment of Dalits and how Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee brought the first Industrial Policy as the first Industry Minister.
The Prime Minister said that it was in this house when Lal Bahadur Shastri emboldened the spirits of the Indian soldiers during the war of 1965. He also touched upon the foundations of the Green Revolution which was laid down by Shastri Ji. He highlighted that the war for Bangladesh’s independence was also a result of this house under the leadership of Smt Indira Gandhi. He also touched upon the attack on democracy during the emergency and the reemergence of the power of the people after the emergency was lifted.
The Prime Minister mentioned the formation of the Ministry of Rural Development under the leadership of former PM Charan Singh. “The reduction of the voting age from 21 to 18 also took place in this house”, the Prime Minister asserted. He recalled the nation adopting new economic policies and measures under the leadership of PV Narasimha Rao at a time when the country was reeling under economic distress. He also spoke about Atal Ji’s ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’, the formation of the Tribal Affairs Ministry and the advent of the nuclear age under his aegis. Shri Modi also touched upon the ‘Cash for Votes’ scam witnessed by the House.
Referring to clearing historic decisions that had been pending for decades, the Prime Minister touched upon Article 370, GST, OROP and 10 percent reservation for the poor.
The Prime Minister said that this House is witness to the trust of the people and has been a center of that trust amidst the ups and downs of democracy. He remembered times when the Atal Bihari Government fell by one vote. He also underlined the emergence of parties from various regions as a point of attraction.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the creation of 3 new states during Atal Ji’s leadership including Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand and lamented the attempts to usurp power in the creation of Telangana. He also pointed out that there were no celebrations in either state as the bifurcation was carried out with malicious intent.
Shri Modi remembered how the Constituent Assembly reduced its daily allowance and how the House eliminated the canteen subsidy for its members. Also, the members came forward to help the nation during the pandemic with their MPLAD funds and took a pay cut of 30 percent. He also mentioned how the members imposed discipline on themselves by bringing changes to the Representation of the People Act.
The Prime Minister underlined that the present members of the House are extremely lucky as they get the opportunity to become a link of the past with the future as he mentioned bidding farewell to the Old Building tomorrow. “Today’s occasion is a moment of pride for the 7500 representatives who have derived inspiration from within the walls of the Parliament”, Shri Modi added.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the members will move to the new building with great zeal and enthusiasm and thanked the Speaker for allowing the opportunity to reminisce about the historical moments of the house in good light.