Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday slammed the Congress over its objection to inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging the party lacks "national spirit and sense of pride" in India's progress.
The minister asked why cannot Congress leaders "just smile" and join India on this momentous achievement and her march to greatness.
The Congress has accused the government of disrespecting constitutional propriety and demanded that President Droupadi Murmu should do the inauguration instead of the prime minister.
Modi will inaugurate the new Parliament building on May 28 following an invitation by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
What did Puri say?
Puri, whose ministry has undertaken the construction work of the building, put out a series of tweets questioning the Congress.
#WATCH | In August 1975, then PM Indira Gandhi inaugurated the Parliament Annexe, and later in 1987 PM Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated the Parliament Library. If your (Congress) head of government can inaugurate them, why can't our head of government do the same?: Union Minister Hardeep… pic.twitter.com/syv8SXGwIS— ANI (@ANI) May 23, 2023
"Why can't they just join the nation in celebrating this creation of a valuable asset for posterity, as the New India's temple of the mother of all democracies & jettison the prolonged sulk & indulgence in partisan polemics based on falsehoods," Puri said.
On Monday, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said articles 60 and 111 of the Constitution make it clear that the President is the head of parliament.
Hitting out at Congress, Puri said instead of now finding articles to justify their hypocrisy why can't Congress leaders join India on this momentous achievement.
"After uncharitable comments about Hon'ble President in the past by its leaders, Congress president now makes uncalled for & gratuitous comments on her election! Tragic that Congress claiming to be a national party lacks in any national spirit & sense of pride in India's progress," Puri said.
Taking a dig at Congress, the Union minister in another tweet said its leaders should feel better if they remember October 24, 1975 -- the day when Indira Gandhi inaugurated the parliament annexe! Or August 15, 1987 when Rajiv Gandhi laid the foundation of the parliament library.
"From criticising the New Parliament Building & questioning its very necessity despite many of them advocating for it before but not executing it, Congress President & other worthies are now shifting the goalpost by generously misquoting an article a day from the Constitution!," Puri also tweeted.
What did Kharge say?
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge Monday said the then president Ram Nath Kovind was not invited to the new Parliament's foundation laying ceremony in December 2020 and claimed that President Murmu is not being invited for the inauguration of the new building.
"The Modi Government has repeatedly disrespected propriety. The Office of the President of India is reduced to tokenism under the BJP-RSS Government," Kharge alleged on Monday.
Noting that Parliament is the supreme legislative body while the President is the highest constitutional authority, he said she alone represents the government, the Opposition, and every citizen alike.
(With PTI Inputs)