The Congress on Thursday stepped up its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the inauguration of the new Parliament building, saying ”one man’s ego and desire for self-promotion” has denied the first tribal woman president her constitutional privilege to inaugurate the complex.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the ”arrogance” of the Modi government has ”destroyed” the parliamentary system.
”Mr Modi, Parliament is the temple of democracy established by the people. The office of the President is the first part of Parliament. The arrogance of your government has destroyed the parliamentary system,” Kharge said in a tweet in Hindi.
”140 crore Indians want to know what do you want to show by taking away the right of the President of India to inaugurate the Parliament House?” the Congress chief said.
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The All India Adivasi Congress too accused the Modi government of ”insulting” tribals by not getting Droupadi Murmu, the country’s first tribal president, to inaugurate the new Parliament building. It also announced a nationwide protest against the move on May 26.
In a tweet, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, ”Yesterday, President Draupadi (sic) Murmu inaugurated the country’s largest judicial campus at the Jharkhand High Court complex in Ranchi. It is one man’s ego and desire for self-promotion that has denied the first Adivasi woman President her Constitutional privilege to inaugurate the new Parliament building in New Delhi on May 28th.” ”Ashoka the Great, Akbar the Great, Modi the Inaugurate,” Ramesh said.
The Congress’ attack comes a day after 20 opposition parties announced their boycott of the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Modi.
All the same, not everyone joined the dissenting chorus.
BSP president Mayawati called the opposition parties’ boycott inappropriate and welcomed the forthcoming opening.
The Dalit politician also said Congress should have thought about ”tribal honour” when it fielded a candidate against Murmu and denied her an unopposed election.
Asked the party’s view of her remarks, Congress’ media and publicity department head Pawan Khera said fighting an election is a matter of ideology and the party has a right to field a candidate even in a lost cause. ”Fighting polls also does not mean that we are fighting a personal battle with that person. Once she has become the President, she is everyone’s president. It is our responsibility to respect her.
”If the government is not respecting her, then to remind it of that responsibility is also our responsibility. It is our responsibility to remind the PM of ‘raj dharm.’ If Mayawati thinks that there is no need to remind the prime minister of ‘raj dharm’ that may be her personal opinion,” Khera said.
About 20-21 political parties believe that Prime Minister Modi is ”not following raj dharm,” he said.
Asked about BJP’s allegation that the Congress disregarded ‘Sengol’, Khera said, ”Politics can depend on symbols, governments depend on the Constitutional order. You cannot hide behind symbols and justify the lack of governance in this country and justify the fact that you are not adhering to the Constitution of India.” Addressing another press conference at the AICC headquarters here, All India Adivasi Congress chief Shivajirao Moghe said Prime Minister Modi inaugurating the new Parliament building rather than the president is an ”insult” to democracy.
”For the first time a tribal is the president, we have a woman president. This (inauguration by the PM) is an insult to tribals and women. The President is an important part of Parliament as it is the president that addresses the joint session of Parliament. It is the President who should inaugurate Parliament,” Moghe said.
”I don’t know whether this is happening because we are tribals,” said the chief of All India Adivasi Congress department under the Indian National Congress.
Nineteen Opposition parties, including the Congress, Left, TMC, SP and AAP, came together to jointly announce the boycott, saying they find no value in a new building when the ”soul of democracy has been sucked out”. Separately, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said if Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla does not inaugurate the new Parliament building, his party would not attend.
After the Opposition’s boycott call, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance also launched a sharp counterattack, calling the opposition’s stand a ”blatant affront to democratic ethos and constitutional values of our great nation.” The 19 opposition parties in their joint statement said Prime Minister Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament building by himself was a ”grave insult” to democracy and a ”direct assault” against it.