President Droupadi Murmu Sunday welcomed the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the office of the prime minister represents the “trust” in the House, even as a large number of Opposition parties boycotted the ceremony citing her absence from it.
In her written message, which was read out by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Harivansh during the inaugural event, Murmu said the new Parliament building is a “living example” of India’s commitment to preserve its democratic traditions.
“The architects of our Constitution had imagined a nation that will be characterised by the legislative principles expounded by the members elected democratically. So, I am delighted that the prime minister, who is the symbol of the Parliament’s trust, is inaugurating this building,” Murmu said.
Twenty Opposition parties, including the Congress, TMC, AAP, DMK, and Left parties, boycotted the event, saying the PM’s “decision to inaugurate the new Parliament building by himself, completely side-lining the President is not only a “grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy”.
In her message, Murmu said the Parliament, which has been a witness to many transformative experiments that have changed the lives of crores of Indians, has a special place in the country’s “collective consciousness”.
“Respect for democratic discourse is the essence of our social and cultural traditions on the basis of which healthy debates and meaningful dialogues have been blossoming in our country for centuries. Over the last seven decades, our Parliament has been a witness to many transformative legislative attempts which have changed the lives of crores of people of this country,” Murmu said.
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s written message was also read out on the occasion by Harivansh. Dhankhar said apart from reflecting India’s ability to fuse its tradition and culture with symbols of modernity, the new Parliament building “’also symbolises our resolve to liberate ourselves from the colonial mindset.”
“As I often say, and I firmly believe that Parliament is the ‘North Star’ of democracy. Parliament is the most authentic constitutional forum reflecting the mandate of the people. Its decisive role in law-making and shaping the destiny of Bharat is inviolable and it is the basic mantra, nectar, and essence of democracy,” Dhankhar said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who accompanied PM Modi during the installation of the sceptre at the new chamber of the Lower House, urged parliamentarians to uphold the democratic traditions while also setting “new benchmarks of parliamentary discourse” which can act as a guide for democratic platforms in other parts of the world.
RS Deputy Chairperson Harivansh hailed PM Modi’s commitment and personal supervision in getting the construction of the new building completed within two-and-a-half years. The foundation stone laying ceremony of the new Parliament was held in December 2020 and a major part of its construction was carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is an unforgettable moment. It is a moment of pride for a large and diverse democracy like ours. The current Lok Sabha building was a guide for our progress and witness to many historic moments since the country’s Independence. With the passage of time, the members felt the need for a modern Parliament building equipped with modern technology. And keeping in mind the possibility of an increase in the number of MPs after delimitation and their expanding areas of work, a space crunch was felt in the current building.
“That is why members of both the Houses urged the PM for a new, state-of-the-art building. And under the PM’s personal supervision, the new building came up in 2.5 years. This building is not merely a brick-and-mortar structure. It is the medium through which the dreams and aspirations of the people of the country will be fulfilled,” said Harivansh.