Opposition leaders, led by Rahul Gandhi, insist that the President, not the Prime Minister, should inaugurate the new Parliament building. The scheduled inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28 has sparked a debate.
Gandhi tweeted that the President should inaugurate the new Parliament House. Other opposition figures, including Anand Sharma, argue for upholding constitutional norms and stress the importance of Parliament in India’s democracy.
According to Article 79 of the Constitution, the President is the head of Parliament, which includes the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. Sharma explained that the power to summon Parliament lies solely with the President, as outlined in Article 85.
Opposition leaders emphasize the crucial role of the President in the joint session of Parliament and assert that the President’s participation in the inauguration is essential.
Other opposition leaders, such as D Raja of the CPI, Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD, and Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM, share similar views. They argue that the Prime Minister represents the executive branch, while Parliament represents the legislative organ.
The choice of May 28 for the inauguration has drawn sharp criticism from opposition parties. They accuse the government of deliberate planning, as it coincides with the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar. The Congress party strongly condemns this timing, denouncing it as a “complete insult” to the founding fathers of the nation.
The new Parliament building can accommodate 888 members in the Lok Sabha chamber and 300 in the Rajya Sabha chamber. In the event of a joint sitting of both Houses, the Lok Sabha chamber can hold up to 1,280 members. The foundation stone for the new building was laid by Prime Minister Modi on December 10, 2020, replacing the existing Parliament building completed in 1927.