New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) The Congress on Monday slammed the BJP-led Central government over President Droupadi Murmu not being invited for the inauguration of the new Parliament building.
The allegation comes after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi noted that President Murmu and not Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be inaugurating the new Parliament Building. Even Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge earlier in the day slammed the BJP over the inauguration of new Parliament House by the Prime Minister, scheduled on May 28 saying the government has ensured election of President from the Dalit and the tribal communities only for electoral reasons and the high office is reduced to tokenism under it.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “It is not constitutionally correct to take major decision about the Parliament of India, excluding the head of the parliament – the President of India, from the decision-making from the foundation stone laying and now for the inauguration”.
He said that Article 79 of the Constitution makes it crystal clear that the Parliament comprises of the President, who is the head of the Parliament and the two houses, first – the permanent house, the Rajya Sabha, or the Council of States.
“The Constitution uses the word the Council of States, Rajya Sabha and then the house of the people, the Lok Sabha. So, that is why council of states, because India is a Union of States and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is number two in the warrant of precedence, the Vice President of India.”
Sharma said that the Lok Sabha Speaker chairs the Lok Sabha, and all decisions concerning, the summoning of the Parliament is vested in the President under Article 85.
“The year starts with the joint session of the Parliament. The joint session is addressed by the President of India and the President is flanked by Vice President of India on the right side and on the left hand, is the Lok Sabha Speaker.
“The Prime Minister is the leader of the Lok Sabha, he has every right to be there, respectfully so, but any major event like this required… but, the constitutional scheme of things is very clear – Parliament does not comprise of one half and that’s why the framers of the Constitution have put in place, the scheme, which should never be violated, should have never been,” he said.
Sharma also cited the examples of many countries and said that no democracy in the world has ever done this.
“It is also unfortunate that we had a Dalit President, Ram Nath Kovind, who should have also been given that honour as the Head of Parliament and now we have a tribal President, that to a tribal woman President, our respected President, Droupadi Murmu.
“So, we would still urge and tell the government, tell the Prime Minister that this constitutional propriety should be kept in mind and the President of India should be given her rightful position as the President to do the honour to inaugurate, for whatever reasons this new structure is coming,” Sharma said.
“We share our concerns and the position as it is in our Constitution,” he said.
Even Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal took a pot shot at the government and Home Minister Amit Shah, saying: “Amit Shah: Insult to PM is insult to country. Amitji my understanding of the constitution is that : PM works for the country. PM is not the country. Just as : Government works for the country. Government is not the country.”
The Congress has been demanding that President Murmu should inaugurate the new Parliament building on May 28.
PM Modi will be inaugurating the new Parliament building — a triangular-shaped four-storey building. Its construction started on January 15, 2021 and was to be completed by August 2022. Built in an area of 64,500 square metres, the new building will house 1,224 MPs and has a library, multiple committee rooms, and dining rooms. Tata Projects has constructed the building at an estimated cost of Rs 970 crore.