'140 crore Indians won't forget…': NDA slams Opposition in Parliament inauguration row
In a joint statement, 19 of the parties boycotting the inauguration said Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament was an “assault on democracy”
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has called the boycott of opposition parties of the new Parliament building’s inauguration on Sunday “contempt for the very essence of democracy” while imploring them to revisit the decision.
“140 crore people of India will not forget this egregious insult to our democracy and to their elected representatives,” NDA leaders said in a statement on Wednesday.
BJP president J P Nadda, Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde, and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma are among those who signed the statement.
They said the decision to boycott the ceremony “is not merely disrespectful; it is a blatant affront to the democratic ethos and constitutional values of our great nation.”
Twenty-one parties announced on Wednesday the boycott over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to preside over the ceremony instead of President Droupadi Murmu. Parties such as the Biju Janata Dal and the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, which are not part of the NDA but considered “friendly” to the BJP, will attend the inauguration.
The NDA leaders said Parliament is a “hallowed institution, the beating heart of our democracy, and the epicentre of decision-making that shapes and influences the lives of our citizens”. They added that “flagrant disrespect towards this institution betrays not only intellectual bankruptcy but a disturbing contempt for the very essence of democracy.”
The NDA slammed the parties for showing scant regard for parliamentary procedure. It accused the opposition parties of repeatedly showing “scant regard for parliamentary procedures” for disrupting sessions, staging walkouts during crucial legislation, and demonstrating “an alarming lackadaisical attitude towards their Parliamentary duties.”
“This recent boycott is just another feather in their cap of disregard for democratic processes,” the statement said.
It blamed the opposition for disrupting Parliament and sidestepping parliamentary etiquette.
The statement accused the opposition parties of “hypocrisy” and said they boycotted the special GST session presided over by the then President of India Pranab Mukherjee, skipped the ceremony when he was given the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, and “extended a late courtesy call to Ramnath Kovind upon his election as President.”
The statement referred to the suspension of civil liberties and democratic processes during the Emergency. It added the boycott makes it “apparent that the Opposition shuns Parliament because it represents the will of the people - a will that has repeatedly rejected their antiquated and self-serving politics.”
The statement took potshots at the opposition’s attempts to coalesce against the BJP. It said the so-called unity is “marked not by a shared vision for national development, but by a shared practice of vote bank politics and a propensity for corruption.”
The statement said the actions of the opposition tarnish the values upheld by leaders such as BR Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi. “We implore the Opposition parties to reconsider their decision, for if they do not, the 140-crore people of India will not forget this egregious insult to our democracy and to their elected representatives,” the statement said.
In a joint statement, 19 of the parties boycotting the inauguration said Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament was an “assault on democracy”.
Later, two more parties, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, also said they would stay away from the event.