'Soul of democracy sucked out from Parliament, no value in new building'; 19 opposition parties to boycott Sunday inauguration : The Tribune India

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'Soul of democracy sucked out from Parliament, no value in new building'; 19 opposition parties to boycott Sunday inauguration

Say sidelining President Murmu is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy

'Soul of democracy sucked out from Parliament, no value in new building'; 19 opposition parties to boycott Sunday inauguration

The new Parliament building.



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24

Nineteen opposition parties including the Congress on Wednesday issued a joint statement announcing their decision to boycott the Sunday inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The parties, in a united declaration, 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.”

The statement was issued by the following parties: Indian National 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.

In the statement, the parties said the inauguration of a new Parliament building is a momentous occasion. “Despite our belief that the government is threatening democracy, and our disapproval of the autocratic manner in which the new Parliament was built, we were open to sinking our differences and marking this occasion. However, Prime Minister Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament building himself, completely sidelining President Murmu, is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy which demands a commensurate response,” the parties said.

They said the Constitution of India states in Article 79, that “There shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People.”

“The President is not only the Head of State in India, but also an integral part of Parliament. She summons, prorogues and addresses Parliament. She must assent for an Act of Parliament to take effect. In short, Parliament cannot function without the President. Yet, the Prime Minister has decided to inaugurate the new Parliament building without her. 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 statement read.

It added that “undemocratic acts are not new to the Prime Minister, who has relentlessly hollowed out Parliament”.

The parties said opposition Members of Parliament have been disqualified, suspended and muted when they raised the issues of the people of India.

“MPs from the treasury benches have disrupted Parliament. Many controversial legislations, including the three farm laws, have been passed with almost no debate, and Parliamentary Committees have been practically made defunct. The new Parliament building has been built at great expense during a once-in-a-century pandemic with no consultation with the people of India or MPs, for whom it is apparently being built,” they said.

Noting that the soul of democracy had been sucked out from Parliament, “So we find no value in a new building. We will continue to fight — in letter, in spirit, and in substance — against this authoritarian prime minister and his government, and take our message directly to the people of India,” the parties said.

The TMC, AAP and CPI had announced the boycott on Tuesday.

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