In what is seen as a major embarrassment for the Modi government , Nineteen opposition parties, including the Congress, Left and TMC, collectively announced their decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terming it as an “undignified act” that insults the high office of the president.
In a joint statement, they said the inauguration of the Parliament building is a momentous occasion but despite our belief that the government is threatening democracy, and our disapproval of the “autocratic manner” in which the new Parliament was built, we were open to sinking our differences and marking this occasion. “However, Prime Minister 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,” the opposition parties said.
The Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Janata Dal (United), AAP, CPI-M, CPI, SP, NCP, SS (UBT), RJD, IUML, JMM, NC, KC (M), RSP, VCK, MDMK, RLD are the signatories of the joint statement.
19 opposition parties issue a joint statement to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building on 28th May, saying “When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the Parliament, we find no value in a new building.” pic.twitter.com/7p7lk9CNqq
— ANI (@ANI) May 24, 2023
Modi will inaugurate the new Parliament building on May 28 following an invitation by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
The opposition parties noted that the President is not only the Head of State in India, but also an integral part of Parliament as she summons, prorogues, and addresses Parliament. “In short, Parliament cannot function without the president. Yet, the prime minister 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 undermines the spirit of inclusion which saw the nation celebrate its first woman Adivasi President,” the parties said.
They added that the new Parliament building has been built at great expense during a once-in-a-century pandemic with no consultation with the people of India or MPs, for whom it is apparently being built. “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’ prime minister and his government, and take our message directly to the people of India,” the opposition parties said in their joint statement.
#WATCH | “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,” says DMK MP Kanimozhi#NewParliamentBuilding https://t.co/D4fY0PPi7Q pic.twitter.com/G9YRFyItoU
— ANI (@ANI) May 24, 2023
Congress party discussed with all like-minded parties to boycott the inaugural function of the new Parliament building on 28th May. We are very happy that all opposition parties are coming together to fight against this: Congress general secretary-organisation KC Venugopal told ANI
The opposition parties had boycotted the ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the building by Modi in December 2020, citing concerns about its timing amid farmer protests, the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic distress due to a lockdown.
Reacting to the Opposition move in a press conference , Home Minister Amit Shah said, We should not politicize this (inauguration of the new Parliament building) issue, let people think and react however they want to.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told ANI , “I would like to tell them that this is a historical event. This is not the time of politics…Boycotting and making issues out of a new issue is most unfortunate. I appeal to them to reconsider their decision and join this historical function…”