• Wednesday, June 07, 2023


Boycotting new parliament inauguration: Modi cites Australia’s bipartisan politics to slam opposition at home

The Indian opposition have objected to Modi inaugurating India’s new parliament building on May 28 saying it should have been done by the president and not the PM.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi inspects the new parliament building in New Delhi, India. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (25) took a veiled dig at the opposition over their decision to boycott the inauguration of the country’s new parliament building in New Delhi on Sunday (28) by comparing the political situation in Australia where he just visited.

Modi, who reached the capital earlier in the day after concluding a three-nation tour, referred to a community event in Sydney that saw more than 20,000 people turning up to hear him. He said not only the prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, but also the country’s former prime minister and opposition parliamentarians were present as they came together for the sake of their country.

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“The former Prime Minister was also present in that function. There were MPs from the opposition and the ruling party. All of them took part in the community event,” Modi was quoted as saying by NDTV.

In Australia, Modi met the leader of opposition and the country’s former defence minister Peter Dutton and told him that India appreciates the strong bipartisan support Canberra offers when it comes to the relations between the two nations.

Modi government, opposition lock horns over India’s new parliament building inauguration

“A relationship enjoying support across the political spectrum. PM Narendra Modi had a productive meeting with the Leader of Opposition MP Peter Dutton in Sydney. PM Modi conveyed his appreciation for the strong bipartisan support that our partnership enjoys. Also discussed various aspects of bilateral ties, including people to people linkages, as well as regional developments,” India’s external affairs ministry said, sharing images of the two leaders’ meeting.

The opposition was upset with Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new parliament building by himself and not the president of India, Droupadi Murmu, who is the constitutional head of the republic. As many as 20 parties said they will boycott the inauguration event.

“Prime Minister Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new parliament building by himself, completely sidelining President Murmu, is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy… This undignified act insults the high office of the President and violates the letter and spirit of the constitution. It undermines the spirit of inclusion which saw the nation celebrate its first woman Adivasi President,” the opposition parties said in a statement.

“Undemocratic acts are not new to the Prime Minister, who has relentlessly hollowed out the parliament. opposition Members of parliament have been disqualified, suspended and muted when they raised the issues of the people of India… When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the parliament, we find no value in a new building,” they added.

The opposition Indian National Congress was also unhappy over the fact that the new parliament would be inaugurated on the birthday of Veer Savarkar, an Indian freedom fighter who it considers a divisive figure unlike the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which hails him as a hero.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance hit back at the opposition’s decision to boycott the inauguration saying it was a “blatant affront to democratic ethos and constitutional values of our great nation”.

Two parties — Biju Janata Dal of Odisha and YSR Congress of Andhra Pradesh — decided to take part in the inauguration ceremony.

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