Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated on Sunday 28 May the new seat of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi during a ceremony boycotted by the main opposition parties.
The new hexagonal building is one of the major projects implemented by Narendra Modi to reshape the Indian capital and remove the remnants of British rule. It is adjacent to one built in the colonial era by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, which is now due to be replaced.
“I’India not only a democracy, but also the mother of democracy,” said Narendra Modi in a ceremony that was preceded by an interfaith prayer.
The inauguration of the new building took place on the anniversary of the birth of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a Hindu ideologue who was the mentor of Godse, the assassin of the country’s independence hero, Mahatma Gandhi.
The meeting was boycotted by nineteen opposition parties, who regretted that the project was being instrumented for partisan purposes, with Narendra Modi presiding over the inauguration of the new building, not the Head of State, whispered Draupadi. This is a “direct attack on our democracy,” they wrote in a statement.
Narendra Modi “has gutted Parliament relentlessly”, with opposition MPs “disqualified, suspended and silenced” and laws passed “almost without debate”, the document added.
Moreover, opponents accuse Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of stifling parliamentary debate, deploying tax crackdowns, federal investigations and legal action to weaken key opposition figures.
India’s parliament notably suffered session disruption in February after the government blocked requests from opposition and Congress leaders, Rahul Gandhisupporting an investigation into possible links between the Prime Minister and tycoon Gautam Adani, whose conglomerate has been accused of fraud.
“The Prime Minister regards Parliament inauguration as a crowning achievement,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi on Sunday.
In between the ceremonies, Indian police arrested several wrestlers, including an Olympic medalist, as well as dozens of his supporters. The latter tried to go to Parliament to protest the president of their federation, whom they accuse of sexual harassment and intimidation, said an AFP journalist on the spot.
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