Haasan also launched his party Makkal Needhi Maiam’s campaign for the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Sunday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the new Parliament building project, asking him the need for such huge spending “when half of India is starving” amid the coronavirus crisis.
“Thousands of people died in the construction of the Great Wall of China,” Haasan wrote in a tweet. “The kings said that this wall was to protect the people. When half of India is starving after losing its livelihood due to the coronavirus, why build a Parliament worth Rs 1,000 crore? To protect whom are you building the new Parliament? Please reply, my honourable elected Prime Minister.”
Haasan’s tweet came hours before he launched his party Makkal Needhi Maiam’s campaign for the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, PTI reported. He said the focus of his campaign would be the complete transformation of Tamil Nadu.
“There is no doubt about degeneration in the state… people know that well and there is no point lamenting… MNM [Makkal Needhi Maiam] will talk about what needs to be done now,” Haasan was quoted as saying by the news agency.
Modi had on December 10 laid the foundation stone for the new Parliament building. He said that the new building will be a landmark of India’s democracy.
Congress and other Opposition parties, on the other hand, questioned the timing and need of the building amid the pandemic and the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three agricultural laws.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala had criticised the prime minister for “building a palace for himself”. He said that the Parliament “is not mortar and stones”, but it imbibes the Constitution and represents values like democracy, equality and compassion. “What would a building built upon trampling of these values represent,” he asked.
Former bureaucrats have also criticised the Centre for not cutting down on “luxuries” like the Central Vista project amid the coronavirus crisis. The Rs 20,000-crore venture aims to build a new Parliament and other central government offices in Lutyens’ Delhi. The government has justified its decision to build a new Parliament building, saying that the current one was “showing signs of distress and over-use”.
Despite the groundbreaking ceremony, the new Parliament will not be built immediately as the government on Monday assured the Supreme Court that it would not carry out any construction, demolition or felling of trees in the Central Vista area for now. This came after the top court had expressed displeasure at the government “aggressively” continuing with the redevelopment project while petitions challenging the project were yet to be decided.