Asserting that power transfers never happen merely at the shake of hands, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday appealed to opposition parties to reconsider their decision to boycott the dedication of the new Parliament building scheduled on May 28, saying it is a “temple of democracy.”
Addressing reporters here, she said 20 “aadeenams” (pontiffs) from Tamil Nadu have been invited for the inauguration, where the ‘Sengol’ will be installed, as did in 1947 to symbolise the power transformation from the British. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the new Parliament building on Sunday.
Sitharaman addressed a press conference at the Raj Bhavan here in the company of TN Governor RN Ravi, his Telangana and Nagaland counterparts, Tamilsai Soundararajan and La Ganesan, respectively, Union Minister L Murugan and TN Minister PK Sekar Babu.
The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu, one among the 19 opposition parties in the Centre that are boycotting the inauguration, dubbed the Sengol (sceptre) a symbol of monarchy and insisted it had nothing to do with democracy. Responding to the opposition taking exception to the inauguration by PM Modi, instead of President Droupadi Murmu, Sitharaman said in a veiled attack on the Congress that its former chief Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for the Chhattisgarh assembly building instead of the Governor of that state earlier. It was strange that those who censured the President, now find themselves morally motivated, Sitharaman said.
“I am surprised by their allegation. These parties saw the President coming from a tribal background and took up a bitter campaign against her. Leaders of the opposition parties spoke ill of her and said she will be a rubber stamp and that she represents evil forces,” Sitharaman said.
“But the Prime Minister gave her due respect. Those who ran a bitter campaign then are now suddenly speaking for her,” the finance minister said.
Asked for her comments on the boycott of the inauguration by several political parties, she replied, “Parliament is a temple of democracy and these parties should reconsider their decision and participate.”
Congress lashes out at Patnaik for “abiding” with Modi, BJD hits back
The Congress lashed out at the ruling BJD and its president, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday for “abiding” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on all occasions, including the new Parliament building inauguration.
The BJD hit back accusing Congress of doing politics over a non-issue and raised questions over its role during the presidential election.
Patnaik is scheduled to visit the national capital on May 27 and attend the Niti Aayog’s governing council meeting, sources in the chief minister’s office said.
There was, however, no clarity on Patnaik joining the Parliament inauguration event the next day. BJD Lok sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs will attend the function.
Odisha Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra hit out at Patnaik for BJD’s decision to be present at the inauguration programme in Delhi on May 28 saying that the BJD president abides by whatever Modi says.
“What is more disturbing is that Patnaik, who had described President Droupadi Murmu as his sister and daughter of the soil during the presidential election last year, has now joined BJP in insulting her by deciding to attend the new Parliament building inauguration,” Mishra said.
The non-BJP parties have demanded that the new Parliament House be inaugurated by President Murmu and not Prime Minister Modi.
“BJD says yes to Modi fearing the CBI and ED,” he said. While at least 19 political parties, including Congress have decided to boycott the mega event, around 16 others including BJD have voiced their readiness to take part in the launch ceremony. The regional party described the proposed event as “momentous” and announced its decision to take part in it.
Rejecting Mishra’s allegation, senior BJD leader and MLA Amar Prasad Satpathy accused Congress of doing politics over a ‘non-issue’. He also raised questions over Congress’ role during the Presidential election.
The Congress along with NCP and TMC among other opposition parties had opposed the candidature of Murmu for the country’s topmost post and had supported Yashwant Sinha, a former union minister.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has welcomed BJD’s decision and said all those who have faith in democracy should attend the inauguration of the new Parliament building.
“Not any one political party, but all had fought for the country’s Independence,” he said mocking Congress.
“Those who believe in democracy should be present on the occasion. It is a good decision by BJD,” Pradhan said.