Historic move: Parliament session to shift to new building from today; members gather for photo op

Speculations rife that the women's reservation bill may be tabled today

INDIA-PARLIAMENT/ New Parliament building | Reuters

The new Parliament building will host its first session of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, a historic event that coincides with the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.

The event will be marked by a function in the Central Hall of Parliament on Tuesday led by Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 90-minute-long function will start and end with the national anthem and will be followed by a lunch. Later, the top leaders will lead all MPs to the new Parliament building.

"Members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are requested to assemble in the Central Hall of Parliament at 11 A.M. on 19.09.2023 for a function to commemorate the rich legacy of the Parliament of India and resolve to make Bharat a developed Nation by 2047," a Rajya Sabha bulletin said on Monday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi will deliver the welcome address at the Central hall function, and veteran parliamentarians will also speak on the occasion. Sources said BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, who is also a senior-most Lok Sabha member, will be the first speaker. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has been approached to deliver an address at the function after Maneka Gandhi, but sources close to him said Singh has not been keeping well for some time and may not be present.

The function will also see the address of veteran Parliamentarian Shibu Soren, whose combined Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha experience is more than any other member. Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal, Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Mallikarjun Kharge, and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will also speak on the occasion.

The prime minister is also expected to take a copy of the Constitution to the central hall of Parliament during the function, the sources said. Modi on Monday paid tributes to "every brick" of the old Parliament building and said MPs will enter the new building with "new hope and confidence".

Meanwhile, there will be three separate group photographs -- first of MPs from both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, second of RS members and third of LS members. All would be taken at the inner courtyard of the old Parliament building.

Lok Sabha proceedings will begin at 1:15 p.m., while Rajya Sabha will meet at 2.15 p.m. in the new building.

Meanwhile, there are speculations that the women's reservation bill may be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday. The Centre on Monday gave its approval for the bill to ensure the reservation of 33 per cent of seats for women in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. 

The move was welcomed by all major political parties, including the Congress. "We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posted on X.

"This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy," the Congress leader said. 

(With PTI inputs)

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