Indian legislators say goodbye to British-era parliament building

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and lawmakers honored India’s parliament on Monday as it prepared to move from a British colonial-era structure to a new state-of-the-art complex.

Constructed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker two decades prior to India’s independence in 1947, the old parliament building has borne witness to the tumultuous birth of the Indian republic and subsequently served as a guardian of the world’s largest democracy.

Now, it is slated to be transformed into a museum, while its 788 members will relocate to a new triangular-shaped complex as part of a $2.4 billion project aimed at modernizing institutions with a stronger Indian identity.

“Today is a moment to remember and reflect on India’s parliamentary journey of 75 years before the proceedings move to the newly inaugurated building,” said Modi during a special session held before Tuesday’s relocation.

In May, Modi inaugurated the new parliament as part of an ambitious redevelopment project for New Delhi’s Central Vista complex, although this move sparked protests from opposition parties who argued that India’s president should have performed the inauguration.

The new four-story building is larger and can accommodate 1,272 members.

“Bidding farewell to the old parliament building is an emotional moment… Its grandeur is also part of our legacy,” Modi told lawmakers in the old parliament’s lower house.

While the government convened a five-day special session, there has been no immediate confirmation of which bills will be discussed.

Typically, Indian lawmakers convene three times a year: during the budget session, the monsoon session, and the winter session. While opposition leaders questioned the necessity of the special session, they bid farewell to the old building and looked ahead to improved logistics, security, and technology.


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