Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress and 2 other parties to attend inauguration of new Parliament building
Nineteen Opposition parties, including the Congress, have said that they will boycott the event.
The Biju Janata Dal, the YSR Congress Party, the Telugu Desam Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal on Wednesday said that they will attend the inauguration ceremony of the new Parliament building on May 28.
The Bahujan Samaj Party also welcomed the inauguration of the building. However, its chief, Mayawati, said that she will not be able to attend the ceremony due to prior commitments.
Their decision was keenly awaited after 19 Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), announced earlier in the day that they will boycott the event. The parties said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the building instead of President Droupadi Murmu was “not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy”.
Opposition parties have also taken exception to holding the inauguration ceremony on the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar.
On Tuesday, the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal said that it will be a “part of this momentous occasion”, reported NDTV.
“The president of India is the head of the Indian state,” said a statement from the party. “The Parliament represents the 1.4 billion people of India. Both the institutions are symbols of Indian democracy and draw their authority from the Constitution of India.”
The statement said the party believes that Constitutional institutions should be above any issue that may adversely impact their “sanctity and honour”, adding that these matters can be debated in Parliament.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that the YSR Congress Party will attend the inaugural ceremony since boycotting it is not in the true spirit of democracy. He also urged other political parties to set aside all political differences.
“I congratulate Narendra Modi ji for dedicating the grand, majestic and spacious Parliament building to the nation,” Reddy wrote in a tweet. “Parliament, being the temple of democracy, reflects our nation’s soul and belongs to the people of our country and all the political parties.”
The Telugu Desam Party also confirmed its attendance for the event on Thursday, reported PTI.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Daljit Singh Cheema said that his party will attend the event because it does not want “any politics to be played at this time”.
“Arvind Kejriwal should answer when the president came to Chandigarh, then why the chief minister [Bhagwant Mann] was not present [at the event],” Cheema said. “It was the governor who had to point out that he [the chief minister] should have come.”
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said that the boycott of the ceremony by Opposition parties was unfair. She added that as the government has made the building, it has the right to unveil it.
“It is also unfair to link this [the inauguration ceremony] with a tribal women’s respect,” she said.
The 19 Opposition parties, though, have said that they find no value in a new building when the “soul of democracy has been sucked out from Parliament”.
In a joint statement, they accused the Modi government of executing “undemocratic acts” that have “relentlessly hollowed out Parliament”.
On Thursday, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the arrogance of the Modi government has destroyed the parliamentary system in the country. “140 crore Indians want to know what do you want to show by taking away the right of the President of India to inaugurate Parliament?” the Rajya Sabha member asked.
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. Many of the Opposition parties had skipped this ceremony too.