Oppn slams ‘ferocious’ makeover to national emblem; BJP hits back
A fresh row erupted on Tuesday over the national emblem atop the new Parliament building, with the opposition accusing the government of giving a “ferocious” look to the sculpture and insulting the symbol, while the BJP dismissed it as yet another “conspiracy” to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi had on Monday unveiled the cast of the national emblem on top of the new Parliament building in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh.
The Opposition had hit out at Modi accusing him of flouting constitutional norms by performing Hindu rituals and not inviting opposition leaders for the event. “To completely change the character and nature of the lions on Ashoka’s pillar at Sarnath is nothing but a brazen insult to India’s National Symbol,” AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh said.
The new statue is an adaptation of an ancient sculpture ‘Lion Capital of Ashoka’ at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh, dating back to 250 BC.
“Truth be told, transition from Satyameva Jayate to Sanghimeva Jayate has long been completed in spirit,” Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra said.
Hitting back at the opposition, BJP chief spokesperson Anil Baluni said the real reason behind the opposition’s allegation was its frustration over India creating its own Parliament building under Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, replacing the one created by the British over 150 years back.
“Opposition parties want to target Modi for one reason or another.
It is just a conspiracy to vitiate the atmosphere by misleading people,” he said.
Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the bronze cast of the national emblem atop the new parliament building was a “scaled up” version of the original Sarnath emblem.
“If the Sarnath emblem was to be scaled up or the emblem on the new Parliament building is reduced to that size there would not be any difference,” said Puri.
“The original Sarnath Emblem is 1.6 mtr high whereas the emblem on the top of the New Parliament Building is huge at 6.5 mtrs height,” he said.
Historian S Irfan Habib also objected to the national emblem unveiled atop the new Parliament building.
“Meddling with our national emblem was totally unnecessary and avoidable. Why should our lions look ferocious and full of angst? These are Ashoka’s lions adapted by independent India in 1950,” Habib said.
“From Gandhi to Godse; From our national emblem with lions sitting majestically & peacefully; to the new national emblem unveiled for the top of the new Parliament building under construction at Central Vista; Angry lions with bared fangs. This is Modi’s new India,” senior lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said.
“There is just no change. The opposition is comparing 2D images in print to an imposing 3D structure. They have lost it,” Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP’s National Information & Technology department said.
Opposition members and activists among others on Tuesday accused the government of distorting the national emblem by replacing the “graceful and regally confident” Ashokan lions with those having menacing and aggressive posture and sought immediate change.