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Sidelining of President direct assault on democracy, claim opposition parties | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The joint statement by 19 opposition parties announcing their boycott of the inauguration of the new Parliament building accused PM Modi of repeated “undemocratic acts”, including disqualification of opposition MPs and passage of bills without debate. However, sidelining of the President, it said, was the deal-breaker.
“Despite our belief that the government is threatening democracy, and our disapproval of the autocratic manner in which the new Parliament was built, we were open to sinking our differences and marking this occasion. However, PM Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new Parliament building by himself, completely sidelining President Murmu, is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy which demands a commensurate response,” the statement said.
The boycott announcement confirmed the speculation which started after Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday lashed out at PM Modi’s decision to inaugurate the building himself, and insinuated that BJP was electing Dalit and tribal Presidents — Ramnath Kovind and Murmu — only for “electoral reasons” while reducing their offices to mere “token”.
The frontal attack from the Congress brass aimed at turning the tables on BJP’s political messaging among marginalised groups in the wake of election of Presidents from scheduled castes and tribes, suggested that a drastic step was in the works to target the PM. TOI reported on Tuesday that a boycott was likely.
The joint statement was signed by Congress, TMC, DMK, JD(U), NCP, SP, Shiv Sena (Thackeray), RJD, JMM, AAP, CPM, CPI, National Conference, IUML, KC(M), RSP, VCK, MDMK and RLD. The coming onboard of SP is significant as Akhilesh Yadav did not attend the gathering of opposition parties during the oath-taking ceremony of Congress’ government in Bengaluru.
Congress appears to be the leader of the pack in the fresh initiative given that it had launched a scathing attack on PM Modi when he set rolling the construction of a new Parliament during the Covid pandemic, repeatedly deriding it as a “vanity project” of the BJP mascot in a time of crisis.
It said the primacy of the President is evident from the fact that she “summons, prorogues and addresses Parliament”, and an Act passed by Parliament requires her approval for implementation. “Parliament cannot function without the President. Yet, the PM has decided to inaugurate the new Parliament building without her. This undignified act insults the high office of the President, and violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” the statement said.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Parliament is not made of bricks of ego, but of constitutional values.”

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