The opposition parties have reportedly agreed to skip the ceremony to inaugurate the nation's capital's newly constructed Parliament building, according to reports on Wednesday (May 24).
“The inauguration of a new Parliament building is a momentous occasion. 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”, a joint letter by the opposition read.
“The Constitution of India states, in Article 79, 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." 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. In short, the 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”.
“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. MPs from the Treasury benches have disrupted Parliament. Many controversial legislations, including the three farm laws, have been passed with almost no debate, and Parliamentary Committees have been practically made defunct. 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”.
On May 28, the newly constructed New Delhi Parliament building is scheduled to be opened, but a number of opposition parties have decided not to go.
The Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Left, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal-United (JDU), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party (SP), and Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena faction are among the parties that have decided to boycott the inaugural event.
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