Despite widespread opposition, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun renovating Delhi’s largest government buildings for $ 2 billion.
At a ceremony last week, Modi laid the foundation stone for a new building to transform the Parliament complex, designed by English architects Edward Ludiens and Herbert Baker, which, after completion in 1927, became the seat of power for British-ruled India. Since India’s independence in 1947, the building has been used as a meeting place for the Republican Houses of Parliament.
The new building is scheduled to open in 2022, the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. It is also one of the many to be rebuilt in Central Vista, a wide avenue designed by Ludians that stretches from India Gate to the Presidential Palace.
However, ceremonies so far can reach all Modi. Last week, the Supreme Court of India stayed the further construction of the project “until it decides the pending petitions in the matter”. It added: “We never thought [Modi] Progress very aggressively with construction. “
Modi confirmed plans to redesign the imperial complex in May, when India’s corona virus figures rose to the world’s second-highest number of cases. At a time when hundreds of millions of people are facing unemployment, there has been a pushback from many politicians who have questioned the use of government funding for the “Vanity Project,” and the country has been going through its worst financial quarter since records began.
This month, Delhi was besieged by a national agricultural workers’ strike, described as the biggest protest in human history. It contains three federal laws proposing to regulate crop prices, reduce farmers’ incomes, and expose them to the exploitation of large private companies.
Leading politicians have attacked Central Vista redevelopment, including Dikander Singh Banwar, who described the development as “a corruption in preparation”: “It wants to leave its mark of pride on Delhi as a fascist leader.”
Cultural leaders and artists have also questioned the impact of the Hindu nationalist leader’s massive plan to revisit the stories of India’s history. In Guardian, Anish Kapoor, a sculptor of Indian descent, is a redesign of Modi “to consolidate his legacy as the creator of a new Hindu India” and “to remove the Nehru traditions of a secular India”.
During the landing ceremony on Thursday, Modi announced that the new parliament building would be “a symbol of a new and confident India”. He added: “Generations will be proud to see the new parliament built in independent India. At the time of independence, predictions were made that democracy would not succeed in India. Today we can proudly say that we have proven the Nazis wrong. “
In October, Modi laid the foundation stone for another controversial nationalist project, the Ram Mandir, a Hindu temple built on the site of a demolished mosque in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.