Opposition Parties to Boycott Inauguration of New Parliament Building in Delhi, Citing Insult to President

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Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), led by Arvind Kejriwal, have announced their decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building in Delhi’s Central Vista. The event, scheduled for May 28 and to be conducted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has sparked controversy due to the absence of President Droupadi Murmu as the inaugurator. Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien expressed that the Prime Minister’s focus on self-promotion overshadowed the significance of the Parliament as the foundation of Indian democracy, leading to their withdrawal from the ceremony.

The AAP government, currently challenging the Centre’s executive order on transfer and postings of bureaucrats in Delhi, declared their solidarity with the President, considering her exclusion from the inauguration as an insult. AAP leader Sanjay Singh criticized the decision, highlighting its discriminatory nature and its disregard for the representation of Dalits, tribals, and underprivileged sections of Indian society. Opposition parties, including the Congress, have also raised objections to the Prime Minister inaugurating the new Parliament instead of the President.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of repeatedly disrespecting propriety by not inviting the President and former President to the foundation laying and inauguration ceremonies, respectively. He emphasized the President’s role as the embodiment of government, opposition, and citizens alike, suggesting that her presence would signify the government’s commitment to democratic values and constitutional propriety. However, the Congress party is yet to announce its stance on the opening ceremony, with further decisions expected to be made during a forthcoming mega-meeting.

Various other opposition parties, including the CPI and AIMIM, have also criticized the government’s decision, expressing their discontent. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri responded to Congress’s objections by asserting the distinction between the President as the Head of State and the Prime Minister as the Head of Government and leader of the Parliament on behalf of the government. He argued that the President, who is not a member of either House, is not involved in the legislative process, while the Prime Minister is.

The construction of the new Parliament building was prompted by resolutions passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, which cited space constraints and inadequate facilities in the current century-old building as hindrances to the efficiency of parliamentary work. The new building aims to address these issues and provide more convenient arrangements for MPs. However, the controversy surrounding the exclusion of President Droupadi Murmu from the inauguration has sparked a boycott from opposition parties, highlighting the ongoing political tensions in India.

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