New Delhi: With the unveiling of a new Parliament building on May 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is set to leave an indelible mark on Indian democracy. The attempt would be to reclaim the lost Chola era glory of Hindu rulers with an eye on the expansion of the Bharatiya Janata Party in southern India.
The symbolism is quite evident as Union Home Minister Amit Shah also unequivocally stated that “India's new Parliament will revive the glory of the Sengol (historic golden sceptre)” that "went into oblivion" after the handover of power by the British to free India.”
The historic sceptre, considered a symbol of power and justice, will be showcased in the new Parliament building near the Speaker's seat. This clearly indicates that the government is attempting to reclaim the legacy of the Chola rulers, the Hindu dynasty that commanded a powerful navy during their reign and had an empire expanding till present-day South East Asia.
The government has been quick to point out that on the night of August 14, 1947, around 10:45 pm, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had accepted the Sengol, specially brought from Tamil Nadu, as a representation of liberation from British rule.
Shah also pointed out that after the event, the Sengol vanished from public view, clearly indicating that the Congress governments had deliberately tried to hide and suppress the nation’s history.
The move is being seen as an attempt by the saffron unit to make inroads into southern India with the 2024 Lok Sabha polls just a year away.
Through this attempt at invoking regional pride, the BJP hopes to make inroads into the five southern Indian states and has set a target of winning 100 seats in Lok Sabha from these states.
After its recent loss in the Karnataka Assembly polls, the saffron unit is desperately trying to make inroads into the south as it feels that the BJP has reached a saturation point in Lok Sabha in the north, west and northeast parts of the country.
Strategic masterstroke by the BJP
By pointing out that the Sengol had been accepted by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru as a representation of liberation from British rule, the BJP has created a tricky situation for the Congress.
The grand old party will find it really difficult to vehemently oppose the inauguration of the new Parliament building after it has been linked to the most important leader in Congress’ history.
By establishing a link between the Sengol and the Congress’ ruling first family, the BJP has ensured that the grand old party’s strategists will need to rework their moves regarding the issue, sources said.
The placing of Sengol and invoking the legacy of Chola rulers will also create many issues amongst the various regional parties ruling several southern and coastal states of the country.
With the Chola dynasty historically spanning several states, many communities in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Odisha trace their roots to these erstwhile rulers.
This would make it very difficult for the regional parties hailing from these states, including the DMK, to boycott the inaugural ceremony of the new Parliament building. This is expected to create fissures in the opposition ranks as parties try to rework their next moves, sources added.
Earlier, 19 Opposition parties, including Congress, had issued a joint statement on their intent to boycott the new Parliament inauguration.
These parties stated that the inauguration ceremony of the new Parliament building on May 28, will be boycotted and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the building and the “completely sidelining” President Droupadi insults the high office of the President and violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
The Congress and several Opposition parties skipped the foundation-laying ceremony of the new Parliament building in December 2020 too.