New Delhi, May 24 : As many as 19 Opposition parties including Congress on Wednesday announced to “boycott” the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, instead of President Droupadi Murmu on May 28.
Among the “like-minded” parties also includes Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
The latest development comes days after Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had said that the new Parliament building should be inaugurated by the President as she is the highest Constitutional authority and first citizen of the country.
“The inauguration of a new Parliament building is a momentous occasion. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament building by himself, completely sidelining President Murmu, is not only a grave ‘insult’ but a direct ‘assault’ on our democracy which demands a commensurate response,” read the joint statement issued by the Opposition parties.
The statement added, “The Constitution of India states, in Article 79, that there shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People.”
“The President is not only the Head of State in India, but also an integral part of the Parliament. She summons, prorogues, and addresses the Parliament. She must assent for an Act of Parliament to take effect. The Parliament cannot function without the President. Yet, the PM has decided to inaugurate the new Parliament building without her. This undignified act insults the high office of the President, and violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution” it said.
Taking a swipe at the PM, the Opposition parties said, “Undemocratic acts are not new to the PM, who has relentlessly hollowed out the Parliament. Opposition MPs have been disqualified, suspended and muted when they raised the issues of the people of India.”
” MPs from the Treasury benches have disrupted Parliament. Many controversial legislations, including the three farm laws, have been passed with almost no debate, and Parliamentary Committees have been practically made defunct,” they said.
The Opposition added, “When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the Parliament, we find no value in a new building. We announce our collective decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building. We will continue to fight in letter, in spirit, and in substance – against this ‘authoritarian’ PM and his government, and take our message directly to the people of India.”
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, slamming the ruling BJP in a tweet in Hindi wrote, “It is an insult to the country’s highest Constitutional post by not inviting the President to inaugurate the new Parliament building. Parliament is not made with bricks of ego, but of Constitutional values.”
Rahul had earlier said that the President should inaugurate the new Parliament building instead of the PM.
On December 10, 2020, the foundation stone of the new building of Parliament was laid by Modi.