BJP asks Opposition to rethink decision to boycott new Parliament inauguration

Assam Chief Minister responds to criticism, flags instances in non-BJP ruled States where openings of Assemblies were done by CM and not the Governor

May 24, 2023 08:16 pm | Updated May 25, 2023 07:14 am IST - NEW DELHI

Final touches are given to the new Parliament building on May 24, 2023.

Final touches are given to the new Parliament building on May 24, 2023. | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Appealing to 19 Opposition parties to reconsider and reverse their decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building on May 28, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged them to be a part of the historic function.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Joshi said: “I would like to tell them that this is a historical event. This is not the time for politics. Boycotting and making issues out of a new issue is most unfortunate. I appeal to them to reconsider their decision and join this historical function.”

Sharing details of the planned ceremony at a press conference, Home Minister Amit Shah also said that the Opposition parties had been invited and that they should now act according to “their wisdom”.

Head of State sidelined

One the main demands of Opposition parties over the last few days has been that the actual inauguration should be done by President Draupadi Murmu, who is India’s head of State, rather than by the Prime Minister, who is the head of the government.

Also Read | President, not PM, should inaugurate new Parliament building: Rahul Gandhi

In response to this criticism, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted that in the last nine years, five non-BJP State governments had laid the foundation of or inaugurated new legislative Assembly buildings in their States, all of which were done by the Chief Ministers of those States or by presidents of the parties ruling those States. Not a single one was inaugurated by those States’ Governors, who are the constitutional post holders, he noted

“In 2014, UPA Chief Ministers laid the foundation stones of Assembly buildings in Jharkhand and Assam, where the Governor was not invited. In 2018, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh laid the foundation of the new Assembly, Governor was not invited. In 2020, then-Congress president Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone of the Chattisgarh Assembly, Governor not invited. In 2023, new Telangana Assembly inaugurated by Chief Minister, Governor not invited,” tweeted Mr. Sarma.

‘Violates Constitution’

Opposition parties had released a statement saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the building without President Droupadi Murmu “insults the high office of the President, and violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution”.

Mr. Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will dedicate the new Parliament building to the nation on May 28. Invitations have been sent in both physical and digital forms to the MPs of both Houses.

President Droupadi Murmu and Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar are likely to release congratulatory messages on the occasion of the inauguration, sources said. The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the building on December 10, 2020.

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