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Kharge Slams BJP Government for Reducing Office of President to Tokenism

Controversy Surrounds Inauguration of New Parliament House by PM Modi

22-05-2023 : Mallikarjun Kharge, the president of the Congress, slammed the BJP government for choosing to have Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament House rather than the president of India. Kharge asserted that the administration’s choice of candidates from the Dalit and Tribal communities for the presidency was made merely for electoral purposes, accusing the government of reducing the Office of the President to mere tokenism.

In a series of tweets, Kharge pointed out the absence of former President Ram Nath Kovind at the foundation laying ceremony of the new Parliament and expressed disappointment that the current President, Droupadi Murmu, was not invited to inaugurate the new building. He emphasized the significance of the President as the highest constitutional authority in the country, representing the government, opposition, and every citizen. Kharge argued that having the President inaugurate the new Parliament House would symbolize the government’s commitment to democratic values and constitutional propriety.

Kharge criticized the Modi government for repeatedly disregarding propriety and disrespecting the Office of the President. He accused the BJP-RSS government of reducing the presidency to a mere symbol under their rule. These remarks by Kharge echoed the sentiments expressed by former Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi, who also suggested that President Murmu should be the one to inaugurate the new Parliament House instead of the Prime Minister.

The inauguration of the new Parliament House, a triangular-shaped four-storey building spanning an area of 64,500 square meters, is scheduled for May 28. The Congress has criticized the project as Prime Minister Modi’s vanity project. Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh also joined in the criticism, denouncing the government’s actions as an insult to the founding fathers and a rejection of their principles.

Ramesh singled out the Prime Minister, calling the new Parliament building his “personal vanity project” and suggesting that it was a flagrant denial of the contributions of people like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Bose, and Dr Ambedkar. Beginning on January 15, 2021, work on the triangular structure—which can house 1,224 MPs—was initially expected to be finished by August 2022. The structure has a library, numerous committee rooms, and dining areas. At an anticipated cost of Rs 970 crore, Tata Projects completed the construction.