'Soul of democracy sucked out': 19 parties to skip Parliament opening : The Tribune India

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'Soul of democracy sucked out': 19 parties to skip Parliament opening

14 NDA partners slam boycott, ask Oppn to reconsider decision

'Soul of democracy sucked out': 19 parties to skip Parliament opening

Amit Shah at a press meet. TRIBUNE PHOTO

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24

In a move which the government termed “unfortunate” and 14 ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners deplored, 19 Opposition parties on Wednesday announced a joint boycott of the May 28 inauguration of the new Parliament saying unveiling of the building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi instead of President Droupadi Murmu was a “direct assault on democracy”.

All parties invited

The govt has invited all parties. They will respond as per their sentiments and feelings for event. -- Amit Shah, Home Minister

While Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged the Opposition to “reconsider their most unfortunate decision”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said all parties had been invited for the event and would respond in line with “their sentiments about the occasion”. Shah was speaking moments after 19 parties, in a signed statement, said, “When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from Parliament, we find no value in a new building. We announce our collective decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building.”

Against event: Congress, DMK, AAP, Shiv Sena (UBT), SP, CPI, JMM, Kerala Cong (M), VCK, RLD, TMC, JD(U), NCP, CPM, RJD, IUML, NC, RSP & MDMK

In favour: BJP, Shiv Sena, NPP, NDPP, SKM, JJP, RLJP, Apna Dal (S), RPI, Tamil Maanila Cong, AIADMK, IMKMK, AJSU & MNF

The Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Aam Aadmi Party, Shiv Sena (UBT), Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Kerala Congress (Mani), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (United), Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Indian Union Muslim League, National Conference, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam signed the statement. Hours later, 14 ruling NDA allies issued a counter statement, terming the Opposition move “a blatant affront to democratic ethos and constitutional values of India”.

Urging a rethink, the NDA said the Opposition shunned Parliament because it represented the will of the people, “a will that has repeatedly rejected their antiquated and self-serving politics.”

“Their (Opposition) preference for semi-monarchic governments and family-run parties shows an aversion to vibrant democracy, an ideology incongruent with the ethos of our nation ... .Their actions today will echo through the annals of history, casting a long shadow over their legacy. We urge them to think about the nation and not individual political gains,” the NDA allies said, adding that Opposition unity was rooted not in a “shared vision for national development but in a shared practice of vote bank politics and propensity for corruption”.

Parliament not built by ‘bricks of ego’

  • Rahul Gandhi said not inviting the President to open it was an ‘insult’ to India’s highest constitutional post
  • Congress ex-chief said Parliament was not built by ‘bricks of ego’, but through constitutional values

BJP chief JP Nadda, the Shiv Sena, National People’s Party, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, Jananayak Janata Party, Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party, Apna Dal – Sonelal, Republican Party of India; Tamil Maanila Congress, AIADMK, IMKMK (Tamil Nadu), AJSU (Jharkhand) and the Mizo National Front signed the NDA statement.

“Parliament cannot function without the President. Yet, the PM has decided to inaugurate it without her. This undermines the spirit of inclusion which saw the nation celebrate its first woman Adivasi President,” the Opposition statement read.

The NDA allies countered saying the Opposition disdain for Parliament was not new. “They boycotted the special GST session presided over by then President Pranab Mukherjee and skipped the ceremony when he was awarded the Bharat Ratna,” they said. The BJD, YSRCP, TDP and the SAD are, meanwhile, expected to attend the May 28 event. The BRS will take a call on Thursday.

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