Opposition parties set to boycott inauguration of new Parliament building

The Congress, The Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) will skip the inauguration

PM Modi at the new Parliament building (Photo Courtesy: PMO)
PM Modi at the new Parliament building (Photo Courtesy: PMO)

Ashlin Mathew

Amid demands from the Opposition that the president and not the Prime Minister should inaugurate the new Parliament building, the leaders of several political parties have decided to boycott the ceremony on May 28.

The Congress, The Trinamool Congress (TMC), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) will skip the inauguration. Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Prof Manoj K Jha has also indicated that the party is most likely going to boycott the inauguration.

Sources said the leaders of like-minded Opposition parties deliberated on the issue and a joint statement by all the floor leaders will be issued soon, announcing a united boycott of the event.

This comes after the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge slammed the BJP government stating that the government ensured the election of the President from the Dalit and tribal communities only for electoral reasons.

Congress sources have confirmed to the National Herald that they will be boycotting the inauguration. They added that they will be releasing a joint statement with the other opposition parties confirming the boycott.

"The secular Opposition parties are taking a stand jointly of not attending the function because according to the Constitution it is the President of India, who as the head of Parliament, should be inaugurating the new building," asserted Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary.

"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. Prime Minister Modi doesn't get that. For him, Sunday's inauguration of the new building is all about I, ME, MYSELF. So count us out," TMC's leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O'Brien wrote on Twitter.

CPI general secretary D Raja told the National Herald his party will not attend the ceremony. CPI MP Binoy Viswam pointed out that all parties who cherish the values of parliamentary democracy and secularism would keep away from what he termed "majoritarian adventurism".

The official invitation has been sent out by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The invitation card for the event states the ceremony will start at noon and requests the invitees to take their seats by 11.30 am.

Soon after the MPs started receiving soft copies of the invitation, they got into a huddle to discuss the issue.

The Opposition parties have raised objections to Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the new Parliament building and said President Droupadi Murmu should do it instead.

Congress MP Manish Tewari pointed towards Article 79 of the Constitution, which states 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'.

He underscored that the Prime Minister is only the leader of the Lok Sabha and treasury benches: "Propriety demanded that the President should inaugurate the new Parliament."

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.

The grand opening of the new building, it is learnt, will be marked by the chanting of hymns, a "havan" and a "puja". The rituals will start in the morning and the main programme is scheduled to be held in the afternoon.

Besides Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will be present at the opening ceremony.

With PTI inputs

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Published: 23 May 2023, 9:19 PM