Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], May 23 (ANI): Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien said that his party will boycott the inauguration ceremony of the new Parliament building scheduled to be on May 28, adding that "Parliament is the foundation of Indian democracy but PM Modi doesn't get that".
"Parliament is not just a new building; it is an establishment with old traditions, values, precedents and rules - it is the foundation of Indian democracy. PM Modi doesn't get that. For him, Sunday's inauguration of the new building is all about I, ME, MYSELF. So count us out," O'Brien tweeted.
The announcement by the party came hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee as part of his ongoing efforts to cobble up a grand Opposition alliance to ensure that a bill related to the centre's ordinance nullifying the Supreme Court order on services matters is not passed in the Rajya Sabha.
The new Parliament building is all set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on May 28.
The invitation accessed by ANI has been sent to various dignitaries including members of Parliament by the Lok Sabha secretary general Utpal Kumar Singh. The event will begin at around 12 pm (noon) on May 28.
This comes at a time when the opposition led by the Congress party has questioned the government over the Prime Minister inaugurating the new Parliament building and accused the BJP-led central government of insulting the top constitutional post of the country by not asking President of India Droupadi Murmu or Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar for the inauguration.
Leading the attack against the Congress party, Union Minister for Urban Development (MoUD), Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted, "Congress has a habit of raking controversies where none exist. While President is the Head of State, PM is the Head of Govt and leads the Parliament on behalf of the Govt, whose Policies are effected in form of Laws. The President is not a Member of either House, whereas PM is.."Other opposition leaders who spoke to the same tune as the Congress party include AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi and TMC's Sukendu Sekhar Roy.
According to sources, several opposition leaders are also considering boycotting the inaugural function on Sunday, alleging that the government has insulted the President.
In December 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi did the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Parliament building, the event was boycotted by Congress.
In response to the attack by the opposition on why the Prime Minister is inaugurating the Parliament building, the ruling party BJP has countered the arguments.
Official sources in the party said that the first big construction in the Parliament complex took place post-1970. Then President of India VV Giri laid the foundation of the Parliament Annexe Building on August 3, 1970.
"But the Sansadiya Soudha building was eventually inaugurated by then prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 24, 1975. That was exactly four months after she had imposed an Emergency, curtailing fundamental rights and ordering the detention of most opposition leaders," sources told ANI.
"That's not all. The second big construction in the Parliament complex, too, had the prime minister of the day occupying the centre stage. On August 15, 1987, PM Rajiv Gandhi laid the foundation of the Parliament Library building. It was seven years later that Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil led the groundbreaking ceremony for the building on April 17, 1994," they added.
Sources further said that there are portraits in the central hall and 20 of them were unveiled by presidents of India, starting with Dr Prasad and ending with Ram Nath Kovind, and two were unveiled by former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and one each by former prime minister V P Singh and Chandra Shekhar Singh.
"Only one portrait in the central hall -- of Dadabhai Naoroji -- was unveiled by a Speaker. Since March 13, 1953, after Mavlankar, no Speaker has unveiled a portrait in the central hall. As per the records, Jawaharlal Nehru is the only PM to have even unveiled a portrait in the Lok Sabha chamber or inner lobby of Parliament. Dr Manmohan Singh had unveiled seven portraits in the Parliament Museum and archives during his tenure, while Atal Bihari Vajpayee unveiled two. Between P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, seven busts/statues were unveiled in the waiting rooms of Parliament House," sources said.
Sharpening its attack on former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the BJP stated that despite that she hasn't held any position in the government but she laid the foundation stone for the Atal tunnel on 28 June 2010 and inaugurated the Bandra - Worli Sea link in 2009.
The new Parliament building symbolises the spirit of self-reliant India (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) and will be dedicated by PM Modi to the nation on May 28.
The present building of the Parliament was completed in 1927, which is now going to be almost 100 years old. The lack of space was being experienced in this building as per the present requirements. In both Houses, there was also a lack of convenient arrangements for the sitting of the MPs which was affecting the efficiency of the work of the Members.
Considering the above, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed resolutions urging the government to construct a new building for the Parliament. Consequently, on 10 December 2020, the foundation stone of the new building of Parliament was laid by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The newly constructed Parliament building has been built in record time with quality construction.
Now the newly constructed building of Parliament, which will work to further enrich India's glorious democratic traditions and constitutional values, is also equipped with state-of-the-art facilities which will help the Members to perform their functions in a better way.
The new Parliament building will enable 888 members to sit in the Lok Sabha.
In the present building of the Parliament, there is a provision for the sitting of 543 Members in the Lok Sabha while 250 in the Rajya Sabha. Keeping in view the future requirements, arrangements have been made for a meeting of 888 members in the Lok Sabha while 384 members in the Rajya Sabha in the newly constructed building of the Parliament. The joint session of both Houses will be held in the Lok Sabha Chamber. (ANI)