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 just because it has been built at 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 the opposition parties to attend the “historic day” of its inauguration on May 28 by showing a “big heart”.
“We all respect the President, I don’t want to drag the post of the President into any controversy today by recalling what Congress said about her. But India’s prime minister is also an important part of Parliament. The prime minister also holds constitutional responsibility,” he told reporters.
Prasad urged the opposition leaders not to use the boycott of the event as a platform to forge opposition unity, saying they will have more opportunities to do so.
“Mughals built Lal Qila, Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb. Qutub-ud-din Aibak built Qutub Minar, they claim. The British built North Block, South Block, President House which was called Viceroy House, and a Sansad Bhavan,” Prasad said, and asked “What did we built in 75 years of Independence?” “After 75 years of independence, why India should not get a Parliament built by Indians,” he added.
Prasad said the new Parliament building is an “exemplary model” of Indian Vaastu Kala (architecture) and it has been built according to Indian ‘sanskar’.
“I would say to the Congress leaders and other opposition leaders that you come and attend the programme. Sansad (Parliament) is the crown of the country’s democracy,” he said.
“Your leader, who was the first prime minister of India, was also associated with the tradition of (handing over of) the Sengol… I ask my friends in Congress to come to witness this history, historic heritage,” he added.
Prasad alleged that the opposition leaders have decided to boycott the inauguration of the new parliament building as it has been built at the initiative of Prime Minister Modi.
“This is the problem,” he said, adding the opposition parties had boycotted the event organised for laying the foundation of the new building.
“Have they gone to see Sardar Patel’s statue of unity, where lakhs of tourists visit every week? Have they visited the world class war memorial built near India Gate to do pranam (offer tribute) to Paramveer Chakra awardees?” he asked, adding, “No, they haven’t because it’s built by Modi ji.” Prasad asked the opposition parties to show “a big heart and attend the inauguration of new Parliament building, saying Prime Minister Modi has shown respect for all of his predecessors on various occasions”.
“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,” he claimed.
“Rest of the PMs, I don’t mean to disrespect them, but people did not elect them. Morarji Desai was also not elected by people as they had voted for Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan. In Rajiv Gandhi’s time, there was a sympathy wave due to Indira Gandhi’s assassination. No need for us to tell how PV Narasimha Rao, Deve Gowda, I K Gujral, Chandrashekhar, V P Singh became PM,” he added.
Nineteen Opposition parties, including the 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 would not attend the event.
On the other hand, 25 parties have said they will participate in the inauguration and these include seven non-NDA parties.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also hit out at the opposition parties for boycotting the inauguration of the new Parliament building, saying they were making a “disgusting” attempt to create a controversy.
“I think the country will not accept such things. The new Parliament building has been made keeping a visionary approach in mind… today’s need and vision for next 100 years,” Yogi added.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel condemned 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 current Parliament structure was actually a “council hall” and for the first time, the country will have its own full-fledged Parliament building.
“When late prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated annexe buildings of the Parliament or took part in the ground-breaking ceremony for the Parliament’s library, was it against democratic norms,” he asked.