'President, Not PM, Should Inaugurate Parliament': Oppn Speaks in United Voice

The Lok Sabha Secretariat announced that the new Parliament building will be inaugurated by PM Modi on 28 May.

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The inauguration of the new Parliament building in New Delhi has kicked up a storm among the country's political circles.

The reason: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the new building on Sunday, 28 May, instead of President Droupadi Murmu. The announcement was made by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Thursday, 18 May. Speaker of the Lower House Om Birla also met PM Modi to formally invite him to inaugurate the building.

Raising objections, the Opposition said that since the President is the 'First Citizen' of the country, she should be the one unveiling the building, not the Prime Minister.

What Did the Lok Sabha Secretariat Say?

The new building, which is adjacent to India's current Parliament House, will be able to accommodate 888 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 300 in the Rajya Sabha, as opposed to the current capacities of 543 and 250 respectively, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a statement.

"In both the Houses, there were a lack of convenient arrangements for the sitting of the MPs which was affecting efficiency of work of the members. Considering the above, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed resolutions urging the government to construct a new building for the Parliament."
Lok Sabha Secretariat

It further added that the new building will symbolise the spirit of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.


'Insult to President’s Position': Opposition Trains Guns at Centre

The Opposition, however, spoke in a united voice opposing the inauguration of the new building by PM Modi.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to say, "The President should inaugurate the new Parliament House, not the Prime Minister!"

The Congress also said that the date which was chosen for the inauguration was an "insult" to the country's founding fathers as it coincides with the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Shekhar Ray drew attention to the date as well, claiming that it was not relevant to India's history in any way.

"26 November 2023 – Indian Constitution, which gifted parliamentary democracy to the nation, shall step into its 75th year, which would've been befitting for the inauguration of the new Sansad Bhawan. But it shall be done on 28 May, the birthday of Savarkar. How relevant?" Ray said.

In a series of tweets, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the office of the President had been reduced to "tokenism" under the "BJP-RSS government."

"She (President Murmu) alone represents government, opposition, and every citizen alike. She is the First Citizen of India. Inauguration of the new Parliament building by her will symbolise Government’s commitment to Democratic values and Constitutional propriety," Kharge said.

He also said that not only will President Murmu not be inaugurating the new Parliament, she has not even been invited to the ceremony. "It looks like the Modi Govt has ensured election of President of India from the Dalit and the Tribal communities only for electoral reasons."

Speaking in a similar vein, Communist Party of India Secretary D Raja said that not extending an invitation to President Murmu was a "blatant insult" to her and that it "undermines her position."

"Obsession with self-image and cameras trumps decency and norms when it comes to Modi Ji," Raja claimed.

Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi asked why the prime minister was behaving like "his friends" have sponsored the new Parliament from their "private funds."

“Why should the PM inaugurate Parliament? He is head of the executive, not legislature. We have separation of powers & Hon’ble @loksabhaspeaker & RS Chair could have inaugurated. It’s made with public money, why is PM behaving like his ‘friends’ have sponsored it from their private funds?" Owaisi took to Twitter to say.

Construction of the new building had started in January 2021 after PM Modi laid its foundation stone on 10 December 2020. The building was designed by Ahmedabad-based company HCP Design, Planning and Management and was constructed by Tata Projects Ltd.

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