New Delhi: Nineteen opposition parties have come together to say they will not be attending the inauguration of the new parliament building on May 28.
The parties have specifically criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new building himself, instead of inviting President Droupadi Murmu to do it.
“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… 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 statement reads.
“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… 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 opposition parties have said.
“Undemocratic acts are not new to the Prime Minister, who has relentlessly hollowed out the Parliament. Opposition Members of Parliament have been disqualified, suspended and muted when they raised the issues of the people of India… When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the parliament, we find no value in a new building,” the statement continues.
The parties who have signed the statement are 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.
Rattled by the joint statement of 19 parties, the BJP-led NDA has issued a statement saying, “Opposition’s flagrant disrespect to Parliament betrays intellectual bankruptcy, disturbing contempt for [the] essence of democracy.”
“The audacity of these opposition parties to preach about parliamentary decency and constitutional values is, in the light of their actions, nothing short of laughable.”
“Their hypocrisy knows no bounds – they boycotted the special GST session presided over by the then President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee; skipped the ceremony when he was awarded the Bharat Ratna, and even extended a late courtesy call to Shri Ramnath Kovind Ji upon his election as President. Further, the disrespect shown towards our current President, Smt. Droupadi Murmu, is a new low in political discourse,” the NDA said.
However, the statement is silent on why the president of India has not been asked to inaugurate the new building, and why the prime minister, the head of the executive, is going to take centre stage that day.