As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the new Parliament building in Delhi on May 28, which happens to be the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar, Opposition leaders on Friday said that the decision was a politically motivated one.

They also raised questions on why the prime minister was to do the inauguration, and not the president.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray wrote on Twitter that in the 75th year of India’s independence, it would have been befitting to inaugurate the new Parliament building on November 26 – the day when the Constitution was adopted in 1949.

“But it shall be done on 28 May, birthday of Savarkar- How much relevant?” Ray tweeted.

Replying to Ray, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh wrote on Twitter: “A complete insult to all our Founding Fathers and Mothers. A total rejection of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Bose, et al. A blatant repudiation of Dr. Ambedkar.”

In another tweet on Saturday, Ramesh called out Modi unveiling a Mohandas Karmachand Gandhi bust in Japan as “maximum hypocrisy, minimum sincerity”.

“Unveil Gandhi’s bust in Hiroshima and 8 days later inaugurate new Parliament building at home on the birth anniversary of the man who opposed Gandhi vehemently all his life, and even worse, had profound influence on the people who killed the Mahatma ultimately.”

The Union government has not made any official statement about the date of the inauguration being on Savarkar’s birth anniversary. However, Bharatiya Janata Party social media cell chief Amit Malviya drew a reference in a tweet on Friday.

Also read: Why naming the new Parliament building after BR Ambedkar would be a true step towards decolonisation

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha questioned in a tweet whether it would have been more appropriate had the president inaugurated the Parliament buidling.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi also questioned why should the prime minister do the inauguration.

“He is head of the executive, not legislature,” Owaisi wrote on Twitter. “We have separation of powers & Hon’ble Lok Sabha Speaker & RS [Rajya Sabha] Chair could have inaugurated. It’s made with public money, why is PM behaving like his “friends” have sponsored it from their private funds?”

The new Parliament building can seat 888 members in the Lok Sabha chamber and 300 in the Rajya Sabha chamber, according to the Lok Sabha Secretariat. In case of a joint sitting of both the Houses, a total of 1,280 members can be accommodated in the Lok Sabha chamber.

The prime minister had laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament building on December 10, 2020.