President should inaugurate new Parliament building, not PM: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday (May 21) that the President should not inaugurate the new Parliament House of India. His remarks came a few days before the scheduled inauguration on May 28. Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said, “The President should inaugurate the new Parliament building and not the Prime Minister.”

PM Modi to inaugurate Parliament House on May 28
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the newly constructed Parliament House on 28 May. On 18 May, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and invited him to inaugurate the new Parliament House.

It is pertinent to mention that the inauguration of the new Parliament building coincides with the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar and several opposition parties have hit out at the government with the Congress calling it a “complete disrespect” to the founding fathers of the country. The Congress has also called the new Parliament building a vanity project of PM Modi.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “A complete disrespect to all our founding fathers and mothers. A complete rejection of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Bose, etc. A blatant denial of Dr. Ambedkar.”

Reaction of opposition leaders
Apart from the Congress, several other opposition leaders objected to the inauguration of the new Parliament building by PM Modi, saying that the Prime Minister is the head of the government and not the legislature.

Trinamool MP Sukhendu Shekhar Ray raised the question of timing, commenting in a tweet that the inauguration coincided with the birth anniversary of Veer Savarkar, the controversial RSS icon whom the ruling BJP fervently follows. “26 November 2023 – The Indian Constitution, which gifted parliamentary democracy to the nation, would step into its 75th year, which would have been appropriate for the inauguration of the new Parliament building. But it will be done on 28 May, whose birthday it is.” Savarkar. How relevant?” Ray wrote in a tweet.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi asked why the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha would not inaugurate it. “Why should the PM inaugurate Parliament? He is the head of the executive, not the legislature. We have separation of powers and the Hon’ble @loksabhaspeaker and the RS Chair could have been inaugurated. It is built with public money, PM Why are you behaving like your “friends”. Sponsored it with your personal funds? Owaisi tweeted.

Regarding New Parliament House
According to the Lok Sabha Secretariat, the new Parliament House can comfortably accommodate 888 members in the Lok Sabha Chamber and 300 members in the Rajya Sabha Chamber.

In the event of a joint sitting of both the Houses, a total of 1,280 members can be accommodated in the Lok Sabha chamber.

The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament House on 10 December 2020. The Lok Sabha Secretariat said that the new building has been built in record time with quality construction.

The present building of Parliament was completed in 1927 and is now 96 years old. Over the years, the old building was found to be inadequate for the present requirements.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed resolutions urging the government to construct a new building for the Parliament.