Trinamool, CPI, AAP to skip inauguration of new Parliament building

Congress and other Opposition parties are also considering the same step; Hardeep Singh Puri reacts to Opposition’s objection to Modi inaugurating the building instead of President Murmu

Updated - May 24, 2023 07:57 am IST

Published - May 23, 2023 09:58 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of the newly constructed Parliament Complex which is set to inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28, 2023.

A view of the newly constructed Parliament Complex which is set to inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28, 2023. | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Trinamool Congress, the Communist Party of India and the Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday announced that they would boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28. 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.

Trinamool Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien took to Twitter, announcing his party’s decision. “Parliament is not just a new building; it is an establishment with old traditions, values, precedents and rules — it is the foundation of Indian democracy. PM Modi doesn’t get that. For him, Sunday’s inauguration of the new building is all about I, ME, MYSELF. So count us out,” he tweeted.

CPI Parliamentary Party leader Binoy Viswam said: “Parliament can’t be associated in any way with the memory of V.D. Savarkar. And we definitely can’t be part of it.” May 28 is the birth anniversary of Savarkar.

The AAP said it was “upset” that the Parliament building was not being inaugurated by the President.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the government’s decision not to invite the President to inaugurate the Parliament building was unacceptable. Under Article 79 of the Constitution, Parliament comprised the President and the the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, he said.

Also read | BJP has reduced the President’s office to ‘mere tokenism’, says Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge

The government reacted strongly to the objections. Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that in 1975, Indira Gandhi had inaugurated the Parliament annexe and in 1987, Rajiv Gandhi the library. “If your [Congress] head of government can inaugurate them, why can’t our head of government do the same,” he said. He said this was a poor attempt at creating a diversion. “From criticising the new Parliament Building and questioning its very necessity despite many of them advocating for it before but not executing it, Congress president and other worthies are now shifting the goalpost by generously misquoting an article a day from the Constitution!” the Minister tweeted.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh strongly countered Mr. Puri’s statement. In a tweet, he said, “SUV— Self-Usurped Vishwaguru — has already annexe-d the Parliament for self-aggrandisement. But surely, there is a fundamental difference between inaugurating an Annexe where officials work and a library which is hardly used on the one hand, and inaugurating not just the Temple of Democracy but its गर्भगृह itself.”

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