Amid a boycott of the historic inauguration of the new parliament building by 20 opposition parties, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi today, while arguing that the Lok Sabha Speaker should have inaugurated it and not Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also hit out at Lalu Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) over a tweet comparing the new parliament building’s shape to that of a coffin.
“RJD has no stand, the old Parliament building did not even have clearance from Delhi Fire Service. Why are they (RJD) calling the Parliament a coffin? They could have said anything else, why do they need to bring this angle?” Mr Owaisi told news agency ANI.
Dismissing RJD as a party that claims to be secular while also joining hands with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was a BJP ally, the AIMIM MP stressed that a new building was indeed needed. He also cited an example of a part of the ceiling falling on the late Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav while he was having lunch at his party office in the old parliament building.
The Speaker is the custodian of the Lok Sabha, not the PM, Asaduddin Owaisi said, adding that the Lok Sabha is accountable to the people. “It would have been better had the Speaker inaugurated it. But the PM wants to show that he is doing everything and nobody else can do it. As if nothing happened in India before 2014, and everything is happening now. It’s the PM’s way of individual promotion,” he added.
RJD has courted massive controversy for its coffin tweet, with many calling it distasteful. The BJP today has slammed the Tejashwi Yadav-led party, demanding that those behind the Twitter post should be charged with treason.
Sushil Kumar Modi, Rajya Sabha MP and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, told news agency ANI, “What can be more unfortunate than this? They have no brains. This new parliament building has been built with public money. Representatives of all parties, even if they have boycotted the inauguration, will be attending parliament proceedings there. Has the RJD decided to permanently boycott parliament? Will their MPs resign from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?”
“They have used a coffin’s picture. What can be more disrespectful? It shows the political party’s cheap mindset. This is an auspicious day, a day of pride for the country when a new parliament is being dedicated to the nation. And it is being compared to a coffin. That’s the photo they have tweeted. A case of sedition must be registered against such people,” said Mr Modi.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said, “People of the country will bury you in the same coffin in 2024 and will not give you the opportunity to enter the new temple of democracy. It is decided that the parliament building belongs to the country and the coffin to you.”
Explaining the post from the RJD”s official handle, RJD’s Shakti Singh Yadav said, “The coffin in our tweet is a representation of democracy being buried. The parliament is the temple of democracy, a place for dialogue. But they want to take them in a different direction. The country will not accept that. This is a violation of the Constitution and tradition. The President is the all in all of the parliament as per the Constitution. We urge the Prime Minister not to put democracy in a coffin.”
RJD is among 20 political parties that have boycotted the grand opening of the new parliament, questioning why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was inaugurating the new building.
“Prime Minister Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new parliament building by himself, completely sidelining President (Droupadi) Murmu, is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy… This undignified act insults the high office of the President and violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution. It undermines the spirit of inclusion which saw the nation celebrate its first woman Adivasi President,” they said in a statement.