As Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the national emblem on top of the new Parliament building on Monday in the presence of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh and Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Opposition leaders slammed PM Modi for not inviting other parties, and termed the PM’s act ‘unconstitutional’. The Opposition has also objected to the ‘puja’ inside the Parliament premises saying it didn’t portray India’s ‘secular’ image.
Hitting out at PM Modi for unveiling the national emblem, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi took to Twitter and wrote, “The Constitution separates powers of Parliament, government and judiciary. As head of the government, the Prime Minister should not have unveiled the national emblem atop the new parliament building.”
“The Speaker of Lok Sabha represents Lok Sabha which isn’t subordinate to the government. The prime minister has violated all constitutional norms,” the Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad added.
Calling PM Modi’s act unconstitutional, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “PM unveiling the national emblem on top of the new Parliament building is a clear violation of our Constitution. The Constitution unambiguously separates the 3 wings of our democracy – the Executive (government), the Legislature (Parliament and state assemblies) & the Judiciary.”
Criticising the religious ceremony inside the parliament premises, Yechury further said, “PM performed a puja on the occasion. Our Constitution gives the right and protection to all Indians to practice and profess their faith. This is an inalienable right. At the same time, the Constitution clearly stipulates that State does not profess or practice any faith/religion.”
Congress leader and party whip in Lok Sabha Manickam Tagore wondered why other parties were not invited for the ceremony. Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “Hon’ble Speaker sahib, Parliament needs Ruling party and Opposition parties. Where are the Opposition party Leaders? It’s not BJP office I think.”
Calling PM’s action a “clear violation of the Indian Constitution,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) politburo released a statement, saying, “President summons the Parliament. Prime Minister is the head of the Executive. The Legislature has its independent role to perform, amongst others, to legislate laws, keep the Executive accountable and answerable.”
“This Constitutional separation of powers between the three wings is being subverted by the head of the Executive,” the CPI(M) further said.
“The Parliament House will not be occupied by the prime minister alone. It will also be occupied by the opposition. Not inviting them is a major flaw in a democratic set up,” said NCP leader Majeed Memon.
He said he had no objection to the prime minister unveiling the national emblem, adding, “It is his right as he is the tallest leader of the country.” The CPI(M) also took objection to the religious ceremony organised at the event. “National emblem installation should not be linked to religious ceremonies. It is everyone’s emblem, not those who have some religious beliefs. Keep religion separate from national functions,” it said in a tweet.
CPI general secretary D Raja said Parliament belongs to everyone and wondered “how a private, personal event” was organised there. “Also, Parliament is neutral. So why bring religious functions into it?” he asked.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP Jawhar Sircar, while stating that MPs were not consulted before the event, wrote, “4 lions of this regime watch as PM lifts the 4 lions of the national emblem on top of the new parliament building. But MPs, who will occupy this building, were never consulted. Modi will now zap us with a mediocre architecture designed by his crony architect — at exorbitant costs.”
Another TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen slammed PM Modi for not inviting the opposition leaders. “How many opposition leaders were found when @narendramodi was unveiling the #NationalEmblem today? Weight of the emblem is 9500 kg, which is even less than the weight of arrogance of @BJP4India Govt. Isn’t this new Parliament for opposition too? Absolute killing of Federalism (sic),” Sen wrote on Twitter.
“Mr Modi unveiled the emblem on new Parliament building. Does it belong to BJP? Hindu rites performed, India is a secular nation. Why other political parties were not invited? Indian democracy is in peril,” Congress leader Udit Raj wrote in a tweet.
(With inputs from PTI)