Controversy Surrounding New Parliament Inauguration: Opposition Lambasts Government Over Symbolism and Exclusivity
The recent inauguration of India's new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ignited a fierce controversy, drawing criticism from opposition parties over the choice of symbolism and the perceived exclusivity of the event. As the nation witnessed the grand ceremony, numerous political leaders took to social media and public platforms to express their discontent, further exacerbating the existing tensions between the ruling party and the opposition.
One of the key points of contention emerged when the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) tweeted a comparison between the new Parliament building and a coffin, provoking angry responses from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The tweet by RJD, featuring photos of a coffin alongside the new structure, raised eyebrows and led to accusations of disrespect towards the sanctity of democratic institutions. BJP leaders demanded legal action, terming the act as treasonous.
In addition to
the coffin analogy, other opposition parties also criticized the event. The Indian National Congress highlighted the significance of the inauguration date, which coincided with the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to emphasize the contrasting legacies associated with the day, referencing the cremation of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister and a key figure in nurturing parliamentary democracy, in 1964, and the birth of Savarkar, who remains a controversial figure due to his alleged association with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi further lambasted Prime Minister Modi, accusing him of treating the inauguration as a "rajyabhishek" or coronation. Gandhi emphasized that the Parliament represents the voice of the people and criticized what he perceived as a self-glorifying attitude on the part of the Prime Minister.
The opposition's dissatisfaction extended beyond
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symbolism and timing of the event. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh highlighted the absence of President Droupadi Murmu, the first Adivasi (tribal) individual to hold the position, from the inauguration. Ramesh criticized the perceived disregard for constitutional duties and parliamentary procedures, while also questioning the Prime Minister's engagement with parliamentary activities.
The controversy surrounding the new Parliament building was further amplified by the Congress and 19 other parties boycotting the inauguration ceremony, signaling their discontent with the government's actions. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar expressed concerns about the direction in which the country was headed, questioning whether the event catered only to a select few and whether it symbolized a regression rather than progress.
Another point of contention arose from the religious rituals performed during the ceremony. Swami Prasad Maurya, a leader from the Samajwadi Party (SP), criticized the installation of
the "Sengol" sceptre, a symbolic artifact, which was accompanied by Vedic hymns and the participation of Brahmin priests from Karnataka's Shringeri Math. Maurya argued that the event should have been more inclusive by inviting religious leaders from diverse faiths, including Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Christianity. He accused the government of promoting a Brahminical agenda and disregarding the principles of secularism.
The controversy surrounding the new Parliament building inauguration has underscored the deep-rooted political divisions and ideological differences in Indian politics. While the ruling party celebrates the event as a symbol of progress and national pride, the opposition views it as a display of exclusivity and a departure from the secular principles enshrined in the constitution. The debates and criticisms surrounding this event highlight the need for constructive dialogue and a greater emphasis on inclusivity to bridge the gap between opposing political factions.