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Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Says new Parliament Building an Attempt to "Alter History"

Targeting PM Modi, Nitish Kumar said that the old and current parliament building holds historical significance.
Image Courtesy: PTI

Image Courtesy: PTI

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is tirelessly engaging with national and regional party leaders as part of his "opposition unity" mission to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, squarely accused the BJP-led central government of distorting the country's history. Kumar's remarks come a day before the controversial inauguration of the new parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kumar also abstained from attending the NITI Aayog meeting chaired by Modi in Delhi on Thursday. In response, he stated that he would have raised the long-standing demands for special category status for Bihar and a caste census, both of which the Modi-led government had dismissed. "There was no point in attending the NITI Aayog meeting," he said.

This move is widely seen as a clear message from Kumar to Modi that his ongoing efforts to unite the opposition parties are gaining momentum in preparation for the forthcoming general elections next year.

Kumar had cautioned the public that the Modi-led central government is determined to manipulate history. "Satta mein baithe log ish desh ke itihas ko badal denge (Those in power will change the history of the country)," he had said.

Directly targeting Modi, Kumar asserted that the old and current parliament building holds historical significance. "The (old parliament building) is our history. When we became an independent country, everything started from this building. This building should have been developed and renovated. There is no point in constructing a separate new building. By building a new structure, those in power want to alter our historical past," the Bihar CM said.

Kumar further stated that the new building is a part of a plan to erase the history associated with the old parliament building. "Tomorrow, it will be forgotten. I have repeatedly stated that those in power (BJP) today are attempting to rewrite history. They will alter the history of the freedom struggle. The much-hyped inauguration of the new parliament building tomorrow is pointless," Kumar asserted.

Kumar emphasised that there was no need for a new parliament building. "Why was there a need for a new Parliament when the old one has such historical significance? There was no point in attending the inauguration ceremony of the new building on May 28."

Kumar's party JD-U, along with its ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Prasad Yadav and other opposition parties, announced their decision not to attend the inauguration program of the new parliament building. 

Previously, opposition parties had demanded that the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, inaugurate the new building.

JD-U National President Lalan Singh targeted Modi on Saturday for disregarding President Murmu by not inviting her to inaugurate the new building. "Women and Dalit sections will not forgive Modi for insulting President Murmu, who is a woman and a tribal. Modi deliberately chose to inaugurate the new building in place of Murmu to insult her, as she holds the highest constitutional post," Singh stated.

JD-U State President Umesh Kushwaha announced that hundreds of party leaders and workers would observe a day-long fast near the statue of Ambedkar in Patna on May 28 to protest the inauguration of the new building by PM Modi.

Political observers in Bihar recall that the JD-U had opposed the revision of history books by the NCERT last year when the party was still an ally of the BJP-led NDA.

However, contrary to Kumar and his party JD-U's stance, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Harivansh, who is a senior JD-U leader, wrote an article on the editorial section of The Hindu justifying the need for a new parliament building. "Harivansh is a JD-U leader in name only, as he has developed close ties with the top BJP leadership and is playing for their team," a JD-U leader claimed.

On the other hand, several BJP leaders have been targeting Kumar for his move to unite the opposition to challenge Modi in recent times. Meanwhile, Kumar has reiterated the need for solid and united opposition to defeat the BJP and oust the Modi-led central government.

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