Press "Enter" to skip to content

India’s opposition to boycott new parliament inauguration by Modi

Nineteen opposition parties announce the boycott, accusing PM of sidelining President Droupadi Murmu, the country’s first tribal head of state.

New Delhi, India – On Sunday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a new parliament building in capital New Delhi – a decision that has led to at least 19 opposition parties announcing their plans to boycott the event.

In a joint statement, the national and regional parties on Wednesday said India’s President Droupadi Murmu should open the new parliament and have accused Modi of sidelining the country’s first tribal head of state.

India’s president is an indirectly elected, non-party executive with only ceremonial powers, but is considered the country’s first citizen and is the highest constitutional authority.

“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 which demands a commensurate response,” the statement issued by the opposition parties said.

“When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from the parliament, we find no value in a new building. We announce our collective decision to boycott the inauguration,” it added.

The Congress party’s spokesperson, Supriya Shrinate, told Al Jazeera that Modi does not have “the moral right” to inaugurate the parliament as “he is killing democracy every single day”.

“Mr Modi is making it all about himself. When he laid the foundation stone, former President Ram Nath Kovind was not invited. Now for the inauguration again, President Murmu has been sidelined,” she said.

“She [Murmu] is the custodian of the constitution, she is the first tribal woman president of the country and to not invite her for the inauguration is indeed shameful and this is the worst insult that can be meted out to a tribal woman who rose to become the president,” Shrinate said, adding that “history will remember” their protest over the inauguration.

‘Obsession with self-image’

Opposing Modi’s decision, D Raja, a senior Communist Party of India leader, wrote on Twitter that the Indian prime minister is an executive organ of the state while parliament is the legislative organ.

“Obsession with self-image and cameras trumps decency and norms when it comes to Modi ji,” Raja wrote. “Ji” is a common honorific in the Hindi language.

Source: aljazeera