New Delhi, May 24 Barring a few parties, almost the entire Opposition led by the Congress will boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a joint statement issued today, 19 political parties said they are boycotting the inauguration as the Prime Minister has “sidelined” President Droupadi Murmu and “insulted” democratic norms by choosing to inaugurate the Parliament building himself in complete violation of the Constitutional scheme. The statement was signed by the Congress, DMK, AAP, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) SP, CPI, JMM, Kerala Congress (Mani), VCK, RLD, TMC, JD(U), NCP, CPM, RLD, IUML, NC, RSP and MDMK.

The statement cited the Constitution of India that states, in Article 79 that “there shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and the two Houses to be known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People”.

“The President is not only the Head of the State in India, but also an integral part of the Parliament. She summons, prorogues, and addresses the Parliament. She must assent for an Act of Parliament to take effect. In short, the Parliament cannot function without the President. Yet, the Prime Minister 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. It undermines the spirit of inclusion which saw the nation celebrate its first woman Adivasi President,” said the Opposition statement.

“Undemocratic acts are not new to the Prime Minister, who has relentlessly hollowed out the Parliament. Opposition Members of Parliament have been disqualified, suspended and muted when they raised the issues of the people of India. MPs from the Treasury benches have disrupted Parliament. Many controversial legislations, including the three farm laws, have been passed with almost no debate, and Parliamentary Committees have been practically made defunct. The new Parliament building has been built at great expense during a once-in-a-century pandemic with no consultation with the people of India or MPs, for whom it is apparently being built,” the statement added.

“When the soul of democracy has been sucked out from Parliament, we find no value in a new building. We announce our collective decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building. We will continue to fight — in letter, in spirit, and in substance — against this authoritarian Prime Minister and his government, and take our message directly to the people of India,” it said.