India to get a new Parliament...But, why Rahul Gandhi and opposition leaders demand PM Modi shouldn't inaugurate it?

India is counting its days to get a new Parliament, which will replace the current one with the sophisticated ambience and state-of-the-art construction. The foundation stone to construct the new Parliament building was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 10, 2020, and three years later, it is now all set to get inaugurated later this month. 

The government has announced that the new Parliament building will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on May 28. While the country is a week ahead of the inauguration, the announcement has sparked a row across the nation with a league of opposition leaders has demanded that Modi shouldn't inaugurate the Parliament building, citing that he is not the head of the legislative organ.

Last Thursday, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met Modi and extended an invitation to inaugurate the new building. Though Modi laid foundation stone for the project, the opposition leaders affirmed that having Modi to inaugurate the building will be constitutionally incorrect as he is not head of the Parliament. Putting weight behind the opposition's demand, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has echoed the same as the demand has drawn a sharp attention from across the country. 

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Rahul Gandhi wrote in Hindi that the President should inaugurate the new Parliament building and not the Prime Minister. Senior Congress leader and former deputy leader of the Congress Anand Sharma has quoted the Constitution on why Modi should stay back from inaugurating the new Parliament building.

By citing that it will not be constitutionally correct for the Prime Minister to inaugurate the new Parliament building, Sharma wrote on Twitter, "Parliament is the custodian and pride of India's Constitutional democracy. Its glory must not be undermined. The sovereignty of the people is vested in it." He further wrote, "President is the head of Parliament which comprises of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. PM is the leader of Lok Sabha. It is the President who alone can summon the Parliament - Article 85." 

"Rashtrapati (President) addresses the joint session only flanked by Rajya Sabha Chairman - Vice President and Lok sabha speaker. PM and leader of Raya Sabha are seated in Central Hall. Constitution must be respected in letter and spirit and President should inaugurate", Sharma added. Following Congress, several opposition leaders have joined the queue to oppose the invite to Modi to inaugurate the new Parliament building. 

CPI General Secretary D Raja said that the Prime Minister leads the executive organ of the state, while Parliament is the legislative organ. He further said that it would have been appropriate that President Droupadi Murmu, as the Head of State, should inaugurate the Parliament. "Obsession with self-image and cameras trumps decency and norms when it comes to Modi ji", Raja added. 

Earlier last week, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi took to Twitter and wrote, "Why should the PM inaugurate Parliament? He is head of the executive, not legislature. We have a separation of powers and Hon'ble Lok Sabha Speaker and RS (Rajya Sabha) Chair could have inaugurated. It's made with public money, why is the PM behaving like his 'friends' have sponsored it from their private funds." 

The ruling BJP regime has also got trapped in trouble for the timing of the inauguration. While it has been reported that the new Parliament building will be inaugurated on May 28, it has come to revelation that the date coincides with the birth anniversary of Hindutva idealogue VD Savarkar. Attacking the government for such a controversial inauguration, the Congress has said it is a complete insult to the country's founding fathers. 

Furthermore, the latest reports say that the BJP government hasn't invited President Droupadi Murmu yet for the inauguration ceremony, which also had fueled the fury against the BJP regime. The triangular new Parliament building was constructed by Tata Projects and it can accomodate 1,272 MPs. The new Parliament was constructed at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore and it will have two large halls for the functioning of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. 

The Lok Sabha in the new Parliament building can house 888 members, compared to 543 members in the current house, while the Rajya Sabha can accommodate up to 384 MPs, compared to 250 in the current chamber. It will also have a large constitutional hall and offices for lawmakers. The Lok Sabha chamber in the new building can be able to house 1,272 members for joint sessions and the new Parliament will have a life of more than 150 years.