‘Worried seeing that…happy didn't go’: Sharad Pawar on Parliament launch rituals
The inauguration rituals involved havan and the installation of a ceremonial sceptre by PM Modi in the presence of high priests of the Shaivite order.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Sunday expressed concern over the rituals performed during the inauguration of the new Parliament building, saying “we are taking our country backwards by decades.” Pawar said the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had envisaged a society having a scientific temperament, but what happened at the inauguration ceremony was the opposite of that.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building this morning at a grand ceremony steeped in religious symbolism which included a havan, a multi-faith prayer ceremony and the installation of the sceptre ‘Sengol’, a symbol of governance in Tamil kingdoms of yore, in a special enclosure in the Lok Sabha chamber.
“I saw the event in the morning. I am happy I didn't go there. I am worried after seeing whatever happened there,” the NCP chief told reporters in Pune.
Pawar's NCP was among at least 20 opposition parties that skipped the event in the national capital, primarily taking exception to the prime minister doing the honours instead of the President of India.
“There is a huge difference between the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru talking about the concept of modern India and a series of rituals performed at the new Parliament building today in New Delhi. I fear that we are taking our country backward by decades,” Pawar said.
"One cannot compromise on science. Nehru was persistent about his wish to form a society with scientific temperament. But what is happening today at the inaugural ceremony of the new parliament building is exactly the opposite of what Nehru had envisaged," he added.
Pawar also questioned the absence of President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on the momentous occasion.
“It's the government's responsibility to invite President and Vice president. Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla was present, but Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, the head of Rajya Sabha, wasn't there. Therefore the whole event looks like it was for a limited number of people,” he said.
NCP leader and Rajya Sabha member Supriya Sule also termed the inauguration an "incomplete event".
"To open a new Parliament building without Opposition makes it an incomplete event. It means there is no democracy in the country," Sule said in Pune.
(With inputs from agencies)