As the inauguration of the new parliament by PM Narendra Modi sparked a row, with many parties announcing a boycott of the event, both Biju Janata Dal and YSRCP on Wednesday announced their decision to attend the inaugural ceremony.
In a letter issued by BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty, announcing the participation of the party MPs in the inaugural function, the party said that it believes that the parliament as a symbol of democracy was above politics, and its authority and stature should always be safeguarded. “BJD believes that these constitutional institutions should be above any issue that may affect their sanctity and honour. Such issues can always be discussed in the august house,” it said. Currently, the party has 12 MPs in the Lok Sabha and eight in the Rajya Sabha.
“The president of India is the head of the Indian State. The parliament represents 1.4 billion people of India. Both the institutions are symbols of Indian democracy and draw their authority from the constitution of India,” the letter said.
The inauguration of the new parliament is scheduled to be held on Sunday. Nineteen opposition parties, including the Congress and Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, on Wednesday issued a joint statement announcing the boycott and called the inauguration a “grave insult” and “direct assault” on democracy. They had flagged that president Draupadi Murmu was not unveiling it, which was an insult to the nation.
The announcement by BJD comes just two weeks after president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. He said later that he had spoken to the PM on the expediting work on the Jagannath International Airport, for which he said the PM had assured all support.
Speaking later to reporters he had reaffirmed his party’s policy to fight elections on its own and had said that he did not see a possibility of a third front. This move by BJD confirms that the party is as of now unlikely to change its policy of being equidistant from the BJP and the Congress, at least before the 2024 general and Assembly polls. Patnaik, 76, a CM since March 2000, was approached by prominent Opposition leaders, including Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for an alliance to take on the NDA government.
Meanwhile the YSRCP also confirmed it will attend the event. The Centre only recently had approved the biggest-ever tranche of funds to Andhra Pradesh since the state’s bifurcation in June 2014. Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has also largely remained in subtle support of the Centre’s policies, joining the opposition only in select cases.
Earlier in the day, Union Minister Prahlad Joshi had said that the opposition’s boycott of the event was unfortunate. “I would like to tell them that this is a historical event. This is not the time for politics…Boycotting and making issues out of a new issue is most unfortunate. I appeal to them to reconsider their decision and join this historical function,” he added.
While Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have confirmed their attendance, some others such as Shiv Sena (Shinde faction), Bahujan Samaj Part (BSP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) are expected to be there. Apart from Congress and AAP, the ones that have announced a boycott include the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Shiv Sena (UBT), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India,Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Janata Dal (United), Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and others.
The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is expected to take a call on this on Thursday.