Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Saturday defended the decision of opposition parties to skip the inauguration of the new Parliament building, stressing that MPs were not taken into confidence on it.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the new Parliament building on Sunday (May 28), as many as 20 opposition parties have decided to give the function a miss, contending that it should be done by President Droupadi Murmu.
Talking to reporters in Pune, Pawar said he was a Member of Parliament for several years and the existing building, a colonial-era structure, was in a good state.
Pawar said he read in newspapers that a new Parliament building is being constructed.
“Now that the construction is done, we were not consulted on the inauguration of the (Parliament) building. As per norms, the President of India addresses the first session (of Parliament) every year. So, it is obvious that the President should inaugurate the new building. Since no one is being taken into confidence, senior opposition leaders felt that we should stay away and I agree with it.”
He also told the media regarding today's inauguration ceremony, "I am happy I didn't go there. I am worried after seeing whatever happened there. Are we taking the country backwards? Was this event for limited people only?"
I saw the event in the morning. I am happy I didn't go there. I am worried after seeing whatever happened there. Are we taking the country backwards? Was this event for limited people only?: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on the inauguration of the new Parliament with havan, multi-faith… pic.twitter.com/fdRC7K5Ccp— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2023
The opposition parties have argued that President Murmu should do the honours as she is not only the Head of State, but also an integral part of Parliament as she summons, prorogues, and addresses the institution.
With carpets from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, bamboo flooring from Tripura and stone carvings from Rajasthan, the new Parliament building reflects India's diverse culture, as per the government.
'Sengol', a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu which was received by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to represent the transfer of power from the British and was kept in a museum in Allahabad, will be placed near the chair of Lok Sabha Speaker in the House chamber, it said.