New Delhi – In a significant development, several opposition parties, including Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), have declared their boycott of the inauguration ceremony for the new parliament building in Delhi’s Central Vista. The opposition’s decision comes in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the building instead of President Droupadi Murmu, which they consider a grave insult to the highest office of the country.
Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, was the first opposition party to announce their boycott of the event scheduled for May 28. Later, the Aam Aadmi Party, headed by Arvind Kejriwal, followed suit, expressing their discontent with the disregard shown towards President Droupadi Murmu, who was not invited to inaugurate the new parliamentary complex.
Derek O’Brien, a prominent Trinamool MP, took to Twitter to voice his party’s stance, stating, “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.”
The Aam Aadmi Party, currently embroiled in a legal battle with the central government over the transfer and postings of bureaucrats in Delhi, deemed the exclusion of President Droupadi Murmu as an insult and an affront to the Dalit, tribal, and marginalized communities of India. AAP leader Sanjay Singh expressed his party’s position on Twitter, stating, “Not inviting Her Excellency the President Draupadi Murmu ji to the inauguration ceremony of the Parliament House is a gross insult to her. This is an insult to the Dalit tribal and deprived society of India. @AamAadmiParty will boycott the inauguration program in protest against Modi ji not inviting His Excellency the President.”
While the Congress party is yet to announce its stance on the matter, it is expected that their decision will be finalized during an upcoming mega meeting of opposition parties. The Congress had previously boycotted the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Parliament building in December 2020.
Opposition parties, including the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), have also criticized the government’s decision to have Prime Minister Modi inaugurate the new parliamentary complex instead of President Droupadi Murmu.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, defending the government’s choice, took to social media and stated, “Congress has a habit of raking controversies where none exist. While the President is the Head of State, the PM is the Head of Govt and leads the Parliament on behalf of the Govt, whose Policies are effected in the form of Laws. The President is not a Member of either House, whereas PM is.”
The construction of the new Parliament building was necessitated by space constraints in the existing nearly century-old building, as well as a lack of convenient arrangements for the MPs. The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had passed resolutions demanding a new facility to enhance the efficiency of parliamentary work.
As the opposition parties firm up their collective strategy against the government’s decision, the inauguration of the new Parliament building is likely to be marked by their absence, highlighting the deepening political divide and the ongoing tensions between the ruling party and the opposition in India.