IT IS really, really unfortunate that as many as 19 Opposition parties have decided to boycott the inaugural ceremony of the new Parliament building at the hands of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. They are insisting that not the Prime Minister but President Mrs. Droupadi Murmu should inaugurate the grand new edifice. This is nothing but an initiation of political machinations about a year ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections. These parties are trying to whip up public sentiment against Mr. Narendra Modi as as part of their preparations for the electoral battles ahead. That their efforts would not succeed is another matter, but unfortunate it is that these 19 political parties would miss the grand and momentous occasion that would mark the beginning of a new chapter in India’s parliamentary democracy.
Of course, all Opposition parties are not joining the boycott. There are many whose leaders have other purposes to serve, and therefore are not part of the boycott. Obviously, there are fissures operating in the Opposition camp -- to a clear advantage to the ruling National Democratic Alliance. Some Opposition party leaders are insisting that the Speaker of the Lok Sabha should inaugurate the new building and not the President or the Prime Minister. The main thrust of the Opposition argument is that the President is the head of the State and therefore should be the person to inaugurate the new building of Parliament. They are accusing the Prime Minister of trying to garner all popular focus on himself in the pre-election time.
Of course, the Government has trashed all such arguments and has pointed to many occasions in the past when various buildings in Parliament complex in the past so many years were not inaugurated by the President. The Government has also pointed to other similar facts about various legislative building in different States when Chief Ministers inaugurated those facilities and not the Governors. It is obvious that the Government is not going to relent on this issue and the Opposition parties would continue with their resolve to boycott the inauguration. A great and historic occasion, thus, would get marred by the boycott and the accompanying political machinations. Frankly speaking, the Opposition boycott of the inaugural ceremony is not going to serve any political purpose. It would not impede the electoral prospects of the Bharatiya Janata Party nor would those enhance those of the Opposition parties. In other words, this is going to be a much-ado-about-nothing event. Yet, as is their habit of the past so many years, the Opposition parties would not miss a single occasion to castigate the Prime Minister and his Government -- though, of course, to no avail.
Despite this, the Opposition has been picking up such issues only to kick up some political dust that actually smudges the reality of its core weakness of having lost touch with the reality. They find fault with everything the Prime Minister and the Government led by him does. Many issues are very trivial and make little sense to the electorate as such since most Indian voters have realised by now the hollowness of the Opposition’s anti-Modi narrative. A couple of exceptions notwithstanding, the BJP has been registering big electoral victories, in the process pushing the Opposition down and out. Despite this, the Opposition does not see the reality as it is and is seen colouring facts to suit its whatever purpose. As the summer of 2024 approaches and the Lok Sabha elections come closer, the Opposition parties will step up their anti-Modi tirade that may not serve their purpose. The decision to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building at the Prime Minister’s hands is one such.