Removal of statues is violation of democracy: Kharge writes to VP, LS Speaker

New Delhi, June 19 (UNI) Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday urged Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar and Lok Sabha Speaker to relocate the statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr BR Ambedkar to their original places in the Parliament House complex, as ‘removing them arbitrarily and without consultation violates the spirit of democracy’.

In the letter, Kharge said, “I wish to emphasise at the very threshold that such removal of these statues arbitrarily, without any consultation, violates the basic spirit of our democracy.”.

The Rajya Sabha Member said, “The statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, and other national leaders were situated at prominent locations after due deliberation and consideration. Each statue and its location across the Parliament House complex held immense value and significance.”.

With regards to the Mahatma Gandhi statue, Kharge wrote, “Over the decades, this space has assumed sacrosanct value. Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as visitors paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi, imbibing within themselves the spirit of the Mahatma. It is at this place that Members sought to voice the concerns of the people in a democratic manner to draw the attention of the government seeking due redress.”

Moreover, Kharge said that the earlier location of Babasaheb’s statue facilitated the seamless movement of people paying their tributes to him on his birth and death anniversaries. Besides, it has been convenient for the movement of the general public and security concerns.

“The message that the statue of Babasaheb sought to convey was to exhort the generations of parliamentarians to steadfastly hold on to values and principles enshrined in the Constitution of India,” he said.

Kharge said, “I am constrained to state this with anguish that all this has now been brought to a naught in an arbitrary and unilateral manner.”.

Kharge mentioned that there was a dedicated committee for installing portraits and statues of national leaders and MPs in the Parliament House Complex, comprising MPs from both Houses of Parliament.

“However, the committee lamentably has not been reconstituted since 2019,” he stated in his letter.

He said that such decisions without any discussion and deliberation with relevant stakeholders were against the rules and traditions of the Parliament.

“Therefore, I demand that the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, and other national leaders who greatly contributed to the unity and integrity of our nation be relocated to their original locations with due respect and regard,” the Congress president said.

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