The story of the historic Central Hall of Parliament House, where the Constituent Assembly once sat, today Modi addressed the NDA

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New Delhi: NDA has again got majority in the results of Lok Sabha elections. NDA meeting was held in the Central Hall of Parliament House on Friday. In this parliamentary party meeting Narendra Modi was elected as the leader of the parliamentary party. With this the process of formation of new government started. President also invited Modi to form the new government. The Central Hall of Parliament House where the parliamentary party meeting was held has a very interesting and old history. India's constitution was made in this house and all the leaders from Pandit Nehru onwards had made strategies for India sitting here.

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The building of the Central Hall is circular. There is a dome of 98 feet diameter on top of it. Since its establishment in 1927, the Central Hall has witnessed many historical events. Today we are telling you about this historical Central Hall.

Can any political party or alliance use the Central Hall of Parliament House for its private event?
The Parliament House complex, located in the heart of the capital Delhi, consists of several buildings. The New Parliament House, which opened last year, the Old Parliament House, now known as the Constitution House, which is a symbolic circular building, the Parliament House Complex and the Parliament Library Building. The Lok Sabha Speaker is the custodian of the Parliament House Complex. Political parties and groups have been allotted office space inside the complex. They can hold meetings with their members within the complex itself. In the past, political parties have held their parliamentary party meetings at venues within the complex, such as the Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament Library Building. In May 2014, after the announcement of that year's Lok Sabha election results, Modi was elected the leader of the BJP parliamentary party at a meeting held in the Central Hall.

What is the history of the Central Hall?
The Central Hall was originally used as a library for members of the legislature. In 1946, when the Constituent Assembly needed a space to deliberate on the Constitution of independent India, the Central Hall was renovated and benches were added. It was then renamed the Constituent Assembly Building. The Constituent Assembly met at this place for about three years between 1946 and 1949.

Which programmes have been organised in the Central Hall so far?
It was used mainly for ceremonial occasions, such as the annual Presidential Address to the members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and the President's swearing-in ceremony. It was also the venue for parliamentary events such as the President's Farewell Ceremony and the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award Ceremony. The Central Hall was also used for addresses by heads of state of other countries. The last address was given by Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) President Duarte Pacheco in March 2021 and before that, then US President Barack Obama addressed in November 2010.

During the tenure of the 14th Lok Sabha (2004–2009), the then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee organised lectures by academics and scholars like American economist Jeffrey Sachs and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in the Central Hall.

During Parliament sessions, members of both Houses used to assemble there to have tea and coffee to discuss issues of the day. Recently, the place was used for the National Women Legislators Conference (in March 2016), the centenary celebrations of the Public Accounts Committee (2021) and student events organised by the Parliament Secretariat.

What is the current status of the Old Parliament House, where the Central Hall is located?
The chambers of the old Parliament House, where the Central Hall is located, are currently not being used to conduct sessions. The sessions of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are now held in the new building. However, some offices of the Parliament Secretariat are functioning in the old building itself.

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