New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he inaugurated the new Parliament building, saying a “self-glorifying authoritarian PM with utter disdain for Parliamentary procedures” opened the new complex.
Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building on Sunday morning even as around 20 opposition parties, including the Congress, boycotted the event alleging that President Droupadi Murmu has been denied the right to inaugurate the building and called it an insult to India’s first woman president from the tribal community.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said democracy does not run from the buildings but functions through the voice of the people.
He also attacked the government over the “forcible” removal and “manhandling” of wrestlers protesting at the Jantar Mantar when they were trying to march towards Parliament.
“The right to inaugurate the new Parliament was snatched from the President. Women players were beaten up on the streets with dictatorial force,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
“The three lies of the BJP-RSS rulers now stand exposed before the country — democracy, nationalism and Beti Bachao.
“Remember Modi ji, democracy does not run from the buildings but functions through the voice of the public,” Kharge said.
Wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia were detained along with others after a scuffle broke out between the protesters and the Delhi Police at Jantar Mantar after they were seeking to move towards Parliament.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Parliament is the voice of the people but the prime minister is treating the inauguration of the new building like a “coronation”.
“Parliament is the voice of the people! The prime minister is treating the inauguration of the Parliament House as (a) coronation,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi soon after Modi inaugurated the building.
Jairam Ramesh, the Congress general secretary, said, “On this day, May 28th: Nehru, the person who did the most to nurture Parliamentary democracy in India, was cremated in 1964. Savarkar, the person whose ideological ecosystem led to the killing of Mahatma Gandhi, was born in 1883.”
Ramesh also said it is on the same day that President Droupadi Murmu — the first woman from the tribal community to become president — is not allowed to perform her Constitutional duties and inaugurate the new Parliament building.
“A self-glorifying authoritarian Prime Minister with utter disdain for Parliamentary procedures, who rarely attends Parliament or engages in it, inaugurates the new Parliament building in 2023,” he said.
Ramesh further said fabrication of facts by “distorians” and the drum-beating of the media hit new lows in 2023.
AICC General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal tweeted, “At the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new Parliament building, then Hon’ble President Sh. Ramnath Kovind was kept away from the ceremony. At its inauguration, President Droupadi Murmu has been sidelined.”
“It is the upper caste, anti-backward mindset of the RSS because of which they are denied the respect that their high constitutional office deserves. Their deliberate exclusion shows PM Modi will use them as tokens for his electoral politics, but will not allow them to be part of such significant and historic occasions,” he said.
Supriya Srinate, the Congress spokesperson, said later at a press conference that not inviting the president to the new Parliament building’s inauguration reflects the government’s “anti-woman and anti-Dalit” attitude.
“If not inviting the president for the inauguration of the new Parliament building does not show the anti tribal and anti-woman face of the prime minister, then what does?,” she asked.
Shrinate also dubbed the event as a “rajtilak (coronation)” of Modi.
Another Congress leader, Manickam Tagore, said 20 Opposition parties boycotted the inauguration of the new building and the ceremony did not represent the entire Parliament.
Tagore, the party’s whip in the Lok Sabha, said chief ministers of several states were also absent during the inauguration function.
“Sorry… Because of One man’s ego we have not followed the Constitution of India. President of India should have inaugurated and Prime Minister should have been the Guest of Honour,” Tagore said on Twitter.
Pramod Tiwari, the Congress’ deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, said not inviting the president to do the inauguration was an insult to her as well as the tribal community.
The Congress and the BJP have been engaged in a war of words over the history of the Sengol that was installed in the new Parliament on Sunday and the inauguration of the building being done by the prime minister.
Several Opposition parties have boycotted the event contending that the president and not the prime minister should inaugurate the new building.