‘Parliament is Symbolised by President’: Yechury Explains Oppn Boycott, Centre’s ‘Unilateral’ Move


Sitaram Yechury said all opposition parties must unite on the issue and boycott the event. (PTI)

The CPI(M) national general secretary said the boycott would send across the message that the Opposition was committed to the Constitution of India whereas the government and prime minister are committed to destroying it

The inauguration of the new Parliament building has snowballed into a political controversy with 19 opposition parties deciding to boycott the event, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to unveil the structure by sidelining President Droupadi Murmu was a “grave insult”.

Amid the row, CPI(M) national general secretary Sitaram Yechury, whose party is also skipping the inauguration function, told CNN-News18 that Parliament as a whole is symbolised by the President of India and slammed the Centre for violating Constitutional provisions.

Edited excerpts:

Why are so many political parties, including yours, boycotting the inaugural function of the new Parliament building?

You see, the Parliament of India, according to the Constitution, consists of the President and the two Houses — the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Until the President summons Parliament, it cannot meet. It is the President who prorogues Parliament and it is the President who starts the proceedings every calendar year by addressing the joint session. The first item that is taken up for consideration by Parliament every year is the motion of thanks for President of India.

President is the head of Parliament. Without the head being involved, all this is being appropriated by the prime minister who is just the leader of the Lok Sabha, not of Parliament. There is a Leader of Opposition also. Parliament as a whole is symbolised by the President of India.

When the foundation stone was laid for this new building, we had objected asking how the prime minister could do so if it is a new Parliament house. If it is an additional thing in Parliament like the annexe or the library, then it does not matter. But if you are building a new Parliament building, that institution itself is headed by the President of India. We said it was improper. Then he [PM Modi] went on to install the national emblem and now he is inaugurating the new building. We think all this is very improper and it is against Indian constitutional provisions.

How many political parties are together on this?

There should be [many] like it happened on the Adani issue. All the opposition parties should unite on this issue.

What is the signal that all political parties are trying to send by boycotting the function?

That we are committed to the Constitution of India and we are committed to safeguarding it whereas the government and the prime minister are committed to destroying the Constitution of India. That is the clear message to the people.

This new building itself, the way it was conceived, the way it was planned and what is going on was entirely unilateral. Nobody else was consulted. They are going ahead and doing what they want, merrily destroying the Constitution. We are not going to permit this and will resist and fight.

What if the President of India is invited? Will the opposition parties consider attending the function then?

Who will invite the President of India? The President of India must invite us for the inauguration. What do you mean by invite the President? That is adding insult to injury.​

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