The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a PIL seeking direction that the new Parliament building be inaugurated by the President. The vacation bench of Justice J K Maheshwari and P S Narasimha said, the court understands why and how this petition was filed and it was not inclined to entertain this petition under Article 32 of Constitution. The petitioner had said that since President possesses power to summon and prorogue Parliament or dissolve the Lok Sabha, she should not be kept away from the inauguration of the new Parliament building, scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh appealed to the 20 opposition parties boycotting the inauguration to “rethink their decision, as the new Parliament building is a symbol of democracy and aspirations of all Indians”. On the other hand, 25 political parties, including several opposition parties, have agreed to attend the ceremony. On this controversy, I would like to make three points: One, the old Parliament building is in a state of disrepair and needs to be replaced, and building of a new complex was demanded by two former Lok Sabha Speakers Shivraj Patil and Meira Kumar. Modi realized this and built a new hi-tech modern Parliament building in record time. This is nothing short of a miracle. Two: Parliament House falls under the LS Speaker’s jurisdiction. The Lok Sabha is elected directly by the people and it is a symbol of popular aspirations. The present Speaker Om Birla invited Prime Minister Modi to inaugurate the new building. There was nothing wrong in this. In a Parliamentary system of government, maximum powers are given to the Prime Minister. Can’t a Prime Minister inaugurate a building? Three, there is no question of insulting the office of President, even by a long shot. How can inviting the PM be called an insult to the President? It is not that opposition leaders do not understand these points. They know, but since LS elections are due next year, and since most of the opposition parties are worried about Modi, they feel helpless. In personal conversations, they all agree that Modi will win 2024 general elections, and this is the main reason for their worries. These leaders are trying to ensure that Modi’s image gets a beating, so that he can be portrayed as anti-Dalit and anti-Adivasi, pro-rich and murderer of democracy. At least they hope some of these charges may stick at the time of elections. Some opposition leaders have been alleging that democracy is dead in India. India is the world’s biggest and most lively democracy. What can one say about such foolish remarks. This is the depth of their hatred towards Modi, and this attitude is dangerous for a healthy democracy. I liked former PM and Janata Dal(Secular) chief H D Deve Gowda’s remark. He is opposed to Modi’s policies, but on Thursday, he said, “one must understand that this is a new Parliament building, it is not a BJP office, which one should oppose and boycott. The new Parliament building does not belong to BJP, it belongs to the nation, and built with people’s money. Everybody should participate in its inauguration ceremony”. Deve Gowda said, his party JD(S) will take part in the inauguration. In a single remark, Deve Gowda opposed BJP’s policies and accorded respect to democratic traditions. This is the norm in a democracy, but Congress and other opposition parties will not follow this norm. Their motive is not to accord respect to the President, but to register their protest against Modi. In their hate for Modi, they can go to any extent. Sometimes one feels whether Congress feels it is its birthright to occupy the post of Prime Minister. Probably, it does not want any other leader to sit in the PM’s chair except members of one family.
CAN RAHUL BE PROJECTED AS PM CANDIDATE?
Two Congress leaders, Manickam Tagore and Nana Patole, on Thursday said, Rahul Gandhi must be projected as PM candidate for 2024 general elections. To substantiate his demand, Manickam Tagore cited a CSDS survey which said, 27 per cent people want to see Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate. The survey shows, only four per cent are in favour of Mamata Banerjee as PM candidate, 41 per cent back Narendra Modi for the top position. Clearly Rahul Gandhi is 14 per cent behind Modi in popularity ratings. Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole supported Manickam Tagore’s demand and said there should be no difficulty in projecting Rahul as PM candidate. Other opposition parties in the yet to be floated anti-Modi front have ignored this demand till now. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said, at present our focus should be on how to bring all non-BJP parties on a single platform. “Let all parties come together. Who will be the PM face, will be decided later”, Pawar said. Though opposition parties may feel uneasy with the suggestion floated from Congress camp, BJP leaders are happy. BJP leaders say, if Rahul Gandhi is projected as PM candidate, it would be nothing short of a boon for BJP in 2024. They say, people of India will then have no difficulty in choosing between Modi and Rahul. One interesting point is, BJP leaders cited past remarks of Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar to prove their point. Both Mamata and Pawar had remarked about “lack of maturity” on part of Rahul Gandhi. They had questioned about his acceptability among the people. On Thursday, when Pawar was pointedly asked about Rahul, he sidestepped the question. Sitting beside him was AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal who had come to seek support from NCP in his fight against the Centre’s Delhi-related ordinance.
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