270 eminent personalities including former bureaucrats and veterans released a joint statement on Friday severely condemning the Opposition parties’ call to boycott the new Parliament’s inauguration.
On Friday, a group of 270 distinguished individuals having formerly served as bureaucrats, ambassadors, and veterans, denounced the Opposition for boycotting the inauguration of the new Parliament building, claiming that “family-first” parties have banded together to reject everything that represents India.
The statement reprimanded the opposition by asserting that the inauguration of the new parliament building is a proud moment for our nation and all its citizens. However, the statement continued, the opposition parties “just don’t get it.” The statement called out opposition’s arguments as “skeletal,” “immature,” and whimsical, and most importantly a flagrant exhibition of undemocratic positioning.
Gist of the Statement
A democratically elected Indian prime minister who has inspired a billion Indians with his genuineness, inclusive policies, strategic vision, and commitment to deliver, and, most importantly, his Indianness, is unacceptable to the parties opposing the inauguration.
The statement was signed by 88 retired bureaucrats, 100 veterans, and 82 academics. Persons who released the joint statement included Y C Modi, former NIA Director; R D Kapoor, Samirendra Chatterjee, and Gopal Krishna, retired IAS officers; and Anil Roy Dubey, Vice Chancellor of Lingaya University.
Earlier Instances of Boycotting and Unparliamentary Behaviour
The number of times the Opposition has boycotted recent “non-partisan” Parliamentary functions is mind-boggling, according to the statement. The Congress skipped Parliament’s midnight session in 2017 to unveil the GST, a federal innovation and the first of its type in post-independence India. Opposition parties also boycotted a Lok Sabha session in 2020 showing solidarity for and in support of eight Rajya Sabha members who were suspended for unruly behaviour.
The Opposition does not understand that using placards and vociferous sloganeering, disrespecting the country’s most important institutions, and even using household items such as milk packets to demonstrate their protest is not democratic but is authoritarian. Such actions ensue a grave insult and an assault on our democracy, the statement said, using the earlier statements of the parties boycotting the inauguration.
The Opposition boycotted President Droupadi Murmu’s usual statement to the joint session of Parliament ahead of the Union Budget 2023, citing the “heaps of insults” heaped on her by this very Congress party, one of whose members referred to her as “Rashtrapatni.”
The Urgency for a New Parliament
In 2012, Meira Kumar, the then speaker of Lok Sabha had observed that Parliament was in a ramshackle condition. The cracks as well as absence of measures in case of emergencies was “silently weeping”, highlighting that a new parliament building’s demand is not newfound or whimsical as per the statement.
Posing a question to the opposition, the statement asked if the opposition thinks that the current parliament building is in an operable and safe condition. It is possible that they do, since “they just don’t get it,” the statement read.
Around 19 opposition parties had announced their decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Modi, including the Congress, Left, TMC, SP and AAP. Justifying their decision, they had claimed that they found no value in a new building when the “soul of democracy has been sucked out”.