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Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri

New Delhi: Amid the row over the national emblem, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday hit back at the Opposition, insisting if the Ashokan lions at Sarnath were to be scaled up or the one atop the new Parliament building reduced to that size, there would not be any difference.

Opposition leaders and activists have accused the government of distorting the national emblem by replacing the “graceful and regally confident” Ashokan lions with those having menacing and aggressive posture, and sought immediate change.

Mr Puri, whose ministry has been tasked with constructing the new Parliament building under the Central Vista redevelopment project, said one needs to appreciate the impact of angle, height and scale when comparing the two structures.

If one looks at the Sarnath emblem from below, it would appear as calm or angry as the one being discussed, the minister said on Twitter.

“If an exact replica of the original were to be placed on the new building, it would barely be visible beyond the peripheral rail. The ‘experts’ should also know that the original placed in Sarnath is at ground level while the new emblem is at a height of 33 mtrs from ground,” he tweeted.

“If the Sarnath emblem was to be scaled up or the emblem on the new Parliament building is reduced to that size there would not be any difference,” Mr Puri said in another tweet.

The minister also tweeted the picture of the Sarnath emblem. “Sense of proportion & perspective. Beauty is famously regarded as lying in the eyes of the beholder.

“So is the case with calm & anger. The original Sarnath Emblem is 1.6 mtr high whereas the emblem on the top of the New Parliament Building is huge at 6.5 mtrs height.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday unveiled the national emblem atop the new Parliament building in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh.

The Opposition had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of flouting constitutional norms and not inviting opposition leaders for the event.

“Narendra Modi Ji, please observe the face of the Lion, whether it is representing the statue of Great Sarnath or a distorted version of GIR lion. Please check it and if it needs, mend the same,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said on Twitter.

Historian S Irfan Habib also objected to the national emblem unveiled atop the new Parliament building.

“Meddling with our national emblem was totally unnecessary and avoidable. Why should our lions look ferocious and full of angst? These are Ashoka’s lions adapted by independent India in 1950,” Mr Habib said.

Meanwhile, speaking at an event here, Puri said when Modi was unveiling the national emblem on top of the new Parliament building on Monday, one of his colleagues asked why there was no emblem on the old Parliament building.

“The old Parliament building was built by Britishers for their departments. This (new building) is being built by us…” he said.

About the architecture of Rashtrapati Bhavan, North Block, South Block and the old Parliament building, Puri said, “They were not built for Independent India and that was reflected very much in the kind of construction we talk about. it is beautiful..all is good,” he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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