Modi treating Parliament inauguration as ‘coronation’: Opposition

The Opposition had suggested that the new building should be inaugurated by President of India Droupadi Murmu, and 20 parties boycotted the proceedings in protest

Modi inside the new parliament building. Photo: @narendramodi/Twitter
Modi inside the new parliament building. Photo: @narendramodi/Twitter


The Opposition on 28 May slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'solo act' of inaugurating the new parliament house and dismissed the event as a 'coronation' [of a king].

The Opposition had suggested that the new building should be inaugurated by President of India Droupadi Murmu. Not only is the president the constitutional head of the Indian State, Murmu comes from a backward tribal community. Not only is inaugurating the new parliament her very role as head of state, but would have ticked all the right boxes politically speaking.

However, the president does not seem to have been invited to the event. Nor was the vice president, who is the ex officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian parliament) and a former member of the ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) himself, in evidence. Neither dignitary even acknowledged such a momentous event on social media, though a message from Rashtrapati Bhavan was read out by the deputy chairman, who was present.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi that “Parliament is the voice of the people but Prime Minister is treating the inauguration as a coronation [of a king]".

The Congress and 19 other Opposition parties boycotted the event that was, in effect, a solo act with Modi taking centrestage.  

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury attacked Modi for bringing a sengol from the museum to the Lok Sabha.

He saw it as “symbolic of returning to the system of 'raja and praja’ destroying the citizen democracy”. Yechury tersely pointed out that “we are living in a democracy, not under a monarchy".

The whole sengol issue was further confused by the presence of at least 3 different versions of what has been variously called a sceptre and a dharma dand (staff of justice) in the religious ceremonies yesterday and today that preceded the inauguration. The prime minister was seen prostrating himself in front of one in obeisance and later carrying it into the Lok Sabha for installation in a holder behind the Speaker's chair, after having been granted the other two at his private residence by the adheenam of the mutt where it originated.

Sharing a video on Twitter in which Modi can be seen accepting the sengol from the adheenams (religious leaders) of the mutt where it originated, RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) spokesperson Manoj Kumar Jha took a swipe at Modi for the blatant display of religiosity at parliament.

He called the event “a living document of a sick democracy“.

Invoking the leaders and comrades of our freedom struggle, Jha said, "your country has fallen sick."

AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh attacked the Modi government for not inviting the president, who belongs to a tribal community of Odisha. Referring to Article 79 of the Constitution, Singh alleged that the BJP had yet again displayed its bias against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

President of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar simply stated "I am happy I didn't go."

Amid the boycott, Modi in his first speech from the new parliament building said, “the new Parliament building will be a testament to the dawn of Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). It will be a witness to our journey towards a viksit Bharat (developed India)."

“More than just a building, the new Parliament encompasses the aspirations and dreams of 1.4 billion people. It sends a powerful message to the world about India's unwavering determination,” said Modi.

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