MUMBAI: The inauguration of the new Parliament building is a national event and not a programme of a political party, said Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Friday amid the decision by 20 opposition parties to boycott the function.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the new Parliament building on Sunday.
Opposition parties have accused the BJP of “sidelining” President Droupadi Murmu by not inviting her to the inauguration.
“We are not against the inauguration of the new (Parliament) building. We want to know why the President of India has not been invited. Where is the Vice-President, who is the chairman of the Rajya Sabha? Speaker Om Birla’s name figures in the invitation list,” Raut told reporters.
Being the constitutional head of the country, the opposition parties have said, the President should inaugurate the new Parliament building.
Raut wondered if LK Advani because of whom BJP has now seen “acche din” has been kept away from the function.
“Instead of responding to questions, BJP is giving excuses like Indira Gandhi inaugurating an extension of the existing Parliament building and Rajiv Gandhi inaugurating the Parliament library,” Raut said.
He said there is a difference between the extension building, the library and the main building.
Asked about reports claiming that the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena wants to contest 22 of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra next year and its ally BJP not agreeing to the demand, Raut said they don’t consider the Shinde-led Sena a political party.
“Leave alone 22 seats, even if they get five seats, it would be more than enough. We don’t care if the Shinde Sena contests all 48 seats. Our tally of 19 Lok Sabha seats (won by undivided Sena in 2019 polls) will remain intact.”