Jammu | The idea to construct a new Parliament building was initially proposed by the PV Narasimha Rao government, but "due to various reasons" it was put in "cold storage", DPAP chief Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Wednesday.
"But now, a new Parliament building has been constructed, and that is a good thing," Azad said amid 19 opposition parties, including his former party Congress, announcing a boycott of the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He ended his nearly five-decade-long association with the Congress last year and formed the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP).
Asked for his remarks on the Opposition's boycott, he told reporters that "as far as the new Parliament building is concerned, I don't have to comment on which party takes part in the inauguration of the new building and which boycotts it".
"I will not say anything on this. It is up to to those in the Parliament to participate or boycott it," Azad said.
"The idea to construct a new Parliament building emerged during the tenure of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in 1991-92, with Shivraj Patil serving as the (Lok Sabha) speaker and myself as the parliamentary affairs minister," he said.
Azad said at that time, "we developed the building plan and had extensive discussions, and we then debated with the prime minister the necessity of constructing a new and larger parliament building".
"However, due to various reasons, the proposal was sent to cold storage. But now, a new parliament building has been constructed, and that is a good thing," he said here.
Azad said the rationale behind the construction of a larger Parliament building is to accommodate more MPs in case the number of parliamentary seats increase in the future.
"There will be no increase in the number of seats until 2026, considering that the population has increased five-fold since the elections held in 1952. However, after 2026, the seats will need to be augmented to account for the population growth," he explained.