The BJP on Thursday alleged that the opposition parties have decided to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi only because it was built on his initiative.
Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the new building is a symbol of India’s pride and appealed to opposition parties to join the “historic day” of its inauguration on May 28 with a “big heart”.
“We all respect the President, I do not want to drag the office of the President into controversy today by recalling what the Congress has said about him. But the Prime Minister of India is also an important part of the Parliament. The prime minister also has a constitutional responsibility,” he told reporters.
Prasad urged opposition leaders not to use the boycott of the event as a platform to forge opposition unity, saying they would have more opportunities to do so.
“The Mughals built the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb. Qutub-ud-din Aibak built the Qutub Minar, they claim. The British built the North Block, the South Block, the President’s House, which was called the Viceroy’s House, and a Parliament House,” Prasad said, and asked “What did we build in 75 years of independence?” Why shouldn’t India get a Parliament built by Indians after years.”
Prasad said the new Parliament building is an “exemplary model” of Indian Vastu Kala (architecture) and has been built according to Indian ‘Sanskar’.
“I will ask Congress leaders and other opposition leaders to come and attend the programme. Sansad (Parliament) is the crown of democracy of the country.”
“Your leader, who was the first Prime Minister of India, was also associated with the tradition (handing over) of Sengol… I ask my friends in the Congress to come and see this history, historical heritage,” he said.
Prasad alleged that the opposition leaders have decided to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building as it has been built on the initiative of Prime Minister Modi.
He said, “That is the problem.
He said, ‘Has he gone to see Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity, which is visited by lakhs of tourists every week? Has he visited the world-class war memorial near India Gate to salute the Param Vir Chakra awardees? Prasad asked the opposition parties to “show big heart and participate in the inauguration of the new Parliament building, adding that Prime Minister Modi has shown respect for all his predecessors on various occasions”.
He claimed, ‘I want to tell this country that there have been only four Prime Ministers in the country who were elected by the people – first Nehru ji, second Indira Gandhi, third Atal Bihari Vajpayee and fourth Narendra Modi.’
“The rest of the Prime Minister, I don’t mean to disrespect him, but the people didn’t elect him. Morarji Desai was also not elected by the people as he voted for Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan. In the time of Rajiv Gandhi, there was a wave of sympathy for the assassination of Indira Gandhi. No need to tell us how PV Narasimha Rao, Deve Gowda, IK Gujral, Chandrasekhar, VP Singh became PM.
19 opposition parties including Congress, Left, TMC, SP and AAP have jointly announced 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 will not attend the event.
On the other hand, 25 parties have said that they will participate in the inauguration and these include seven non-NDA parties.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also hit out at opposition parties for boycotting the inauguration of the new Parliament building, saying they were making a “disgusting” attempt to create controversy.
“I think the country will not accept such things. Yogi said, the new Parliament House has been built keeping in mind the needs of today and the vision of the next 100 years.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel slammed the opposition parties, saying it was an insult to the great nation and an attack on the country’s democratic values.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the existing Parliament structure was actually a ‘council hall’ and for the first time the country would have a full-fledged Parliament building of its own.
“When late Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated the Parliament Annexe buildings or attended the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Parliament Library, was it against democratic norms,” he asked.