Oppn Slams Centre Over ‘Bared Fangs’ of Ashoka Symbol Unveiled by PM Modi; Govt Debunks Claims

Opposition parties such as the Congress, CPI(M), RJD, TMC, and AIMIM have hit out at the Narendra Modi-led central government for “distorting” the national emblem by replacing the “graceful and regally confident” Ashokan lions with those having menacing and aggressive posture and sought immediate change. The opposition leaders have also accused the Prime Minister of flouting constitutional norms and not inviting them to the event.

On Monday, PM Modi unveiled the cast of the national emblem atop the new Parliament building in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh and also attended a religious ceremony at the site.

Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “Narendra Modi Ji, please observe the face of the Lion, whether it is representing the statue of Great Sarnath or a distorted version of GIR lion. Please check it and if it needs, mend the same.”

Sharing two different images of the national emblem, TMC Rajya Sabha member Jawahar Sircar said, “Insult to our national symbol, the majestic Ashokan Lions. Original is on the left, graceful, regally confident. The one on the right is Modi’s version, put above the new Parliament building – snarling, unnecessarily aggressive and disproportionate. Shame! Change it immediately.”

Another TMC leader Mahua Moitra also shared the two photos of the national emblem without writing anything.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) also objected to it and said the national emblem unveiled atop the new Parliament building was created in the “Amrit Kaal” and its lions show tendency to swallow everything. “Each symbol reflects the inner thinking of the human being. Human beings use symbols to show the common man what is his nature,” Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD wrote in Hindi on Twitter.

AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh tweeted in Hindi, “I want to ask 130 crore Indians whether those who change the national symbol should be called “anti-national” or not.”

Meanwhile, senior lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan has also expressed views over the same and called it “Modi’s new India”. “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,” Bhushan said.

Centre Rejects Opposition Criticism

Responding to all allegations by opposition parties, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that those opposing the massive national emblem cast atop the new Parliament building needs to appreciate the “impact of angle, height and scale when comparing the two structures”. “If one looks at the Sarnath emblem from below it would look as calm or angry as the one being discussed,” he explained in a series of tweets along with images.

“If an exact replica of the original were to be placed on the new building, it would barely be visible beyond the peripheral rail.” “Sense of proportion & perspective. Beauty is famously regarded as lying in the eyes of the beholder. So is the case with calm & anger. The original #Sarnath #Emblem is 1.6 mtr high whereas the emblem on the top of the #NewParliamentBuilding is huge at 6.5 mtrs height,” he added.

The BJP has termed the Opposition’s criticism “politically motivated” and said, “It is unfortunate that the opposition parties have come out with another set of unfounded allegations, which smacks of their political motive.”

Once the construction work is complete, the building will be handed over to the parliament administration, BJP chief spokesperson and national media in-charge Anil Baluni said on Monday. “Opposition parties questioning the unveiling ceremony should understand the administrative process. Right from parliament’s design to funds and constructions supervision, entire work comes under the ambit of the urban development ministry,” he said, adding, “Even the foundation laying was done by the prime minister.”

How The National Emblem on New Parliament Building is Unique

Over 100 artisans and craftsmen from various parts of the country worked for over nine months to create the massive national emblem cast, officials told news agency PTI. The installation of the “State Emblem of India” made of “high-purity bronze” at the top of the central foyer of the new Parliament building, currently under construction, itself was a challenge as it was 33 metre above ground level, they added.

The State Emblem of India is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka which is preserved in the Sarnath Museum. The Lion Capital has four lions mounted back to back on a circular abacus. The frieze of the abacus is adorned with sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening Dharma Chakras. The 6.5-metre installation, weighing 16,000 kg including supporting structure (9,500 kg – national emblem, and 6500 kg – supporting structure), fully handcrafted by Indian artisans, is made of high-purity bronze, said a senior official in the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

The concept sketch and process of casting of the national emblem on the roof of the new Parliament building has gone through eight different stages of preparation from clay modelling and computer graphics to bronze casting and polishing, officials said.

The prime minister also attended a religious ceremony at the site. Modi also interacted with workers involved in the building’s construction and told them that they should feel proud of their work. They are making a very big contribution to the nation’s pride, he said.

(with inputs from PTI)

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