India

19 opposition parties slam Modi’s decision to sideline president at parliament inauguration

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Narendra Modi and Droupadi Murmu. [File Photo]

New Delhi: Nineteen opposition parties have come together to say they will not be attending the inauguration of the new parliament building on May 28.

The parties have specifically criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new building himself, instead of inviting President Droupadi Murmu to do it.

In a joint statement, the 19 parties, which together control 11 state governments, said the President was not only the head of the State but an integral part of Parliament, which cannot function without her. Therefore, Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new building undermined the office of the President and violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution, they argued.

“When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from Parliament, we find no value in a new building. We announce our collective decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building. We will continue to fight — in letter, in spirit, and in substance — against this authoritarian Prime Minister and his government, and take our message directly to the people of India,” the statement said.

Political tensions have simmered for days now over the PM’s decision to open the building. Opposition parties say that as the President summons, prorogues and addresses Parliament, and her assent is a must for any Act to become law, her absence from the event is an insult to her office. “It undermines the spirit of inclusion, which saw the nation celebrate its first woman adivasi President,” the statement added.

To be sure, not all non-BJP parties are boycotting the event. The joint statement accused the PM of hollowing out Parliament and said the new building was constructed with no consultation with the people of India or MPs.

“Opposition members of Parliament have been disqualified, suspended and muted when they raised the issues of the people of India. MPs from the treasury benches have disrupted Parliament. Many controversial legislations, including the three farm laws, have been passed with almost no debate, and parliamentary committees have been practically made defunct,” the parties said.

The statement was signed by the Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Aam Aadmi Party, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (United), Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Indian Union Muslim League, National Conference, Communist Party of India, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Kerala Congress (Mani), Vidhuthalai Chirunthaigal Katchi, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Revolutionary Socialist Party, and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

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