19 parties to boycott inauguration of new Parliament building


The Hindu

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19 Opposition parties, including Congress, to boycott inauguration of new Parliament building

19 Opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC, the AAP and others on Wednesday (May 24) decided to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (May 28).

Issuing a joint statement explaining reasons for the boycott, Opposition parties said, “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.”

“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,” the statement added.

The signatories to the joint statement are Indian National Congress, Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Janata Dal (United), Aam Aadmi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (UBT), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India, Indian Union Muslim League, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, National Conference, Kerala Congress (Mani), Revolutionary Socialist Party, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Rashtriya Lok Dal.

Telangana Chief Minister K. chandrashekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samiti refused to be a signatory to the joint statement, but the party too will boycott the inauguration ceremony.

Earlier on Tuesday (May 23), the Trinamool Congress, the Communist Party of India and the Aam Aadmi Party had announced that they would boycott the inauguration ceremony.

On Tuesday, sources told The Hindu that Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and party general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal had reached out to other Opposition leaders to get their sense and conveyed their reservation about the Prime Minister inaugurating the building and not the President.

MPs got invites for the function on Tuesday on WhatsApp. “Perhaps they [government] will send in a formal invite. But surely they could have done better,” an Opposition MP said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on May 24 urged 19 Opposition parties to reconsider their decision to boycott the inauguration ceremony of the new Parliament building.

It was unfortunate that the Opposition parties were making an issue out of a non-issue as Prime Ministers had inaugurated buildings in Parliament premises on earlier occasions also, he said. “Boycotting and making an issue out of a non-issue is most unfortunate. I appeal to them to reconsider their decision and join the function,” Joshi told reporters in New Delhi on the sidelines of a national workshop on National e-Vidhan Application.

“The Lok Sabha Speaker is the custodian of Parliament and the Speaker has invited the Prime Minister,” Joshi said. The Minister said the inauguration of the new Parliament building was an historical event and it was not good to politicise every event.

“After almost a century a historical thing is happening,” Joshi said. Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had inaugurated the Parliament Annexe building on October 24, 1975 and her successor Rajiv Gandhi had laid the foundation of the Parliament library on August 15, 1987.

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