New Delhi, May 24: Nineteen Opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC, the AAP, and others, said Wednesday they will boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, reports the Indian Express.
Issuing a joint statement, the Opposition parties unanimously objected to the inauguration of the building by PM Modi, noting that the honour instead belongs to the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.
The joint statement has been signed by 19 parties – the Congress, DMK, AAP, Shiv Sena UBT, Samajwadi Party, CPI, JMM, Kerala Congress (Mani), RJD, TMC, JD(U), NCP, CPI (M), RLD, Indian Muslim League, National Conference, Revolutionary Socialist Party, and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Here’s a primer on who said what:
Congress | “It looks like the Modi Govt has ensured election of President of India from the Dalit and the Tribal communities only for electoral reasons… The President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu is not being invited for the inauguration of the new Parliament Building,” Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge stated on Twitter.
“The Office of the President of India is reduced to tokenism under the BJP-RSS Government,” he alleged.
It looks like the Modi Govt has ensured election of President of India from the Dalit and the Tribal communities only for electoral reasons.
While Former President, Shri Kovind was not invited for the New Parliament foundation laying ceremony…
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) May 22, 2023
“Articles 60 and 111 of the Constitution of India make it clear that the President is the head of parliament. It was bizarre enough that the PM performed the ground-breaking ceremony & puja when construction began, but totally incomprehensible (& arguably unconstitutional) for him and not the President to inaugurate the building,” MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted.
DMK | “It has not been done in a proper way and the decorum which should be followed, is not being followed. So, the Opposition parties have decided to boycott it,” DMK MP Kanimozhi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Rashtriya Janata Dal | “We will boycott the inauguration. The President is the head of the Parliament. We believe that she should be the one inaugurating it. This is an insult to her,” Bihar Deputy Chief Minister told the media on Wednesday.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) | “President is the Constitutional Head of India. It is bizarre to NOT let President lay the foundation stone or inaugurate the new Parliament. Disrespect for Head of the Union is disrespect for our Constitution. Therefore, AAP will boycott the inauguration ceremony in protest,” AAP MP Raghav Chadha said.
Further, AAP MP Sanjay Singh said that not inviting President Droupadi Murmu for the inauguration was a gross insult, and declared that the AAP will be boycotting the event.
AIMIM | “Why should PM inaugurate Parliament? He is head of the executive, not legislature… why is PM behaving like his “friends” have sponsored it from their private funds?” party national president Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted.
Shiv Sena UBT | “All Opposition parties have decided to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building on May 28 and we will also do the same,” Sanjay Raut announced on Wednesday.
“The Hon. President is the Head of the Legislature, which is above the head of the Government ie the PM of India. The new parliament inauguration should be done by the President as the protocol demands. The BJP blinded by power has become a fountainhead of constitutional immorality,” Shiv Sena UBT MP Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote on Twitter.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) | “Parliament is not just a new building; it is an establishment with old traditions, values, precedents and rules – it is the foundation of Indian democracy. PM Modi doesn’t get that For him, Sunday’s inauguration of the new building is all about I, ME, MYSELF. So count us out,” MP Derek O’Brien stated.
Communist Party of India (CPI) | “PM leads the executive organ of the state and Parliament is the legislative organ. It would have been appropriate for Smt. Droupadi Murmu as Head of the State to inaugurate the new Parliament. Obsession with self-image & cameras trumps decency & norms when it comes to Modi Ji!” party general secretary D Raja said.
Here’s how the BJP responded:
Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas: “From criticising the New Parliament Building & questioning its very necessity despite many of them advocating for it before but not executing it, Congress President & other worthies are now shifting the goalpost by generously misquoting an article a day from the Constitution!” Puri wrote in a Twitter thread on Tuesday morning.
Responding to censure about the inauguration’s date falling on VD Savarkar’s birth anniversary, Puri said, “In August 1975, then PM Indira Gandhi inaugurated the Parliament Annexe, and later in 1987 PM Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated the Parliament Library. If your (Congress) head of government can inaugurate them, why can’t our head of government do the same?”