Shocking: Opposition Parties Boycott New Parliament Building Inauguration. Here is why!
In a joint statement, nineteen opposition parties, led by the Congress, have declared their decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building scheduled for May 28. The parties expressed their strong disapproval of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's unilateral decision to inaugurate the building, sidelining President Droupadi Murmu. They argued that this action not only insults the President's high office but also violates the principles enshrined in the Constitution.
The opposition parties acknowledged the significance of the occasion but expressed their belief that the government's perceived threats to democracy and the autocratic manner in which the new Parliament building was constructed were cause for concern. Despite these reservations, they were initially willing to put aside their differences and participate in the event. However, the opposition parties unanimously condemned Prime Minister Modi's decision to exclude President Murmu from the inauguration, viewing it as a grave insult and a direct assault on democracy itself. They vowed to respond accordingly.
Signatories to the joint statement include the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), DMK, Janata Dal (United), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Communist Party of India (CPI), Muslim League, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), National Conference, Kerala Congress (M), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
The opposition parties highlighted Article 79 of the Constitution, which outlines the composition of the Indian Parliament, consisting of the President and two Houses, namely the Council of States and the House of the People. They emphasized that the President holds a crucial role in Parliament, summoning, proroguing, and addressing it, as well as providing assent for acts to become law. Thus, the exclusion of the President from the inauguration was deemed undignified, disrespectful to the President's office, and a violation of the Constitution's spirit. The opposition parties also underscored the significance of the President being the first woman Adivasi to hold this position, highlighting the inclusive values the nation celebrated.
Moreover, the parties criticized Prime Minister Modi, stating that his undemocratic actions and the erosion of parliamentary functions were not new phenomena. They pointed out that the construction of the new Parliament building took place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, without proper consultation with the people of India or Members of Parliament, for whom it is ostensibly intended. Consequently, the opposition parties declared their collective decision to boycott the inauguration, pledging to continue their fight against the authoritarian Prime Minister and his government. They vowed to engage with the people of India directly, both in letter and spirit, to convey their message.
This boycott announcement follows the Congress and several other opposition parties' absence from the foundation-laying ceremony of the new Parliament building in December 2020. The recent decision gained momentum after the TMC and AAP declared their intention to skip the event, following a meeting between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata. Kejriwal sought Banerjee's support against the Centre's ordinance on administrative services control in the capital. On Tuesday, the CPI and CPI(M) also announced their boycott of the inauguration.