THE upcoming inauguration of the new Parliament building by PM Narendra Modi has triggered an unsavoury slugfest between the Centre and the Opposition. Nineteen parties have announced a boycott of the event, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK and Aam Aadmi Party. In a joint statement, they have described the PM’s decision to inaugurate the building by himself as ‘a direct assault on our democracy’. The parties have asserted that they ‘find no value in a new building’ when the ‘soul of democracy has been sucked out from Parliament’.
Citing the Constitution, the Congress has said that the President, being the ‘head of Parliament’, should be doing the honours, not the PM. The Centre, in turn, is accusing the Opposition of playing politics on a historic occasion. It claims that there is nothing unprecedented about the inauguration as the then PM Indira Gandhi had opened the Parliament House Annexe on October 24, 1975, while Rajiv Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for the Parliament Library on August 15, 1987, during his tenure as PM. It’s noteworthy that respective Presidents had laid the stone for the annexe and inaugurated the library. In the present case, the PM laid the stone for the new building on December 10, 2020, and is now set to inaugurate it too.
When PM Modi entered Parliament House for the first time in 2014, he knelt and bowed his head as a mark of respect for the ‘temple of democracy’. It’s due to his tireless efforts that this grand monument of 21st-century India has become ready less than a year after the nation celebrated 75 years of Independence. Now’s the time for him to step back and let this remarkable building — the embodiment of a vibrant democracy — hog all the limelight. Accepting the Opposition’s demand to invite the President to do the inauguration will only demonstrate his magnanimity. No controversy should be allowed to mar this momentous event.
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