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'Both Sides Have Good Arguments': Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor Takes Middle Ground On Sengol Row

The Congress has claimed there was no documentary evidence of Lord Mountbatten, C Rajagopalachari and Jawaharlal Nehru describing the Sengol as a symbol of transfer of power from the British to India.

PM Modi receives Sengol
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Amid the ongoing debate around the placement of Sengol in the Lok Sabha chamber of the new Parliament building, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday appeared to take a middle ground after he claimed that arguments on both sides (Centre and Congress) are good.

However, he suggested that the Centre must refrain from saying that the golden sceptre was handed to former PM Jawaharlal Nehru by Lord Mountbatten to symbolise the transfer of power. He said the story has "no proof", and dropping it could be a way to settle the debate.

His remarks come amid a war of words between the Congress and the BJP over the history of the Sengol with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying it was a symbol of the transfer of power from the British in 1947 and should have gotten its due respect after Independence, but was kept on display as a "walking stick" at Anand Bhawan in Prayagraj.

The Congress has claimed there was no documentary evidence of Lord Mountbatten, C Rajagopalachari and Jawaharlal Nehru describing the Sengol as a symbol of transfer of power from the British to India.

In a long Twitter post, Tharoor said, "My own view on the Sengol controversy is that both sides have good arguments. The government rightly argues that the sceptre reflects a continuity of tradition by embodying sanctified sovereignty and the rule of dharma. The Opposition rightly argues that the Constitution was adopted in the name of the people and that sovereignty abides in the people of India as represented in their Parliament, and is not a kingly privilege handed down by divine right."

 "The two positions are reconcilable if one simply drops the debateable red herring about the sceptre having been handed to (Jawaharlal) Nehru by Mountbatten to symbolise the transfer of power, a story for which there is no proof," he said.

He further said that instead it should be simply said that the Sengol sceptre is a traditional symbol of power and authority, and by placing it in the Lok Sabha, India is affirming that sovereignty resides there and not with any monarch. "Let us embrace this symbol from the past to affirm the values of our present," the former Union minister and MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building on Sunday morning and installed the historic Sengol in the Lok Sabha chamber.

(With inputs from PTI)

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