Prime Minister Narendra Modi carries the historic 'Sengol' into the Lok Sabha chamber of the new Parliament building | Photo: ANI
Flanked by priests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Indian parliament on Sunday in a ceremony steeped in religious symbolism but boycotted by opposition parties. Several politicians from Kerala reacted to the inauguration of the new building which also houses the historic “Sengol”.
Congress veteran and Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan posed a question about why India’s president and vice president were not there at the inaugural function. He in a veiled attack on Modi said that “thought that I am the ultimate” is dictatorship. Satheesan highlighted that anything newly constructed for the country should be anchored on democratic values and constitutional principles.
According to CPM leader and Local Self-Government Minister MB Rajesh, the otherwise museum piece “Sengol” appears as a sceptre of fascism dropped on the democracy. He directly criticised Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He in his Facebook post explained the symbolic message the regime wants to send and elaborated its “dangerous political implications”.
Meanwhile, according to Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan, the inaugural was a moment when the aspirations of 142 crore people in the country got actualised. The lone BJP minister from Kerala to be inducted into the Modi 2.0 cabinet also referred to the new parliament building as a “new sanctum of democracy”.
Dressed in traditional attire, Modi walked into Parliament premises from its Gate No. 1 and was welcomed by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
Amid Vedic chants by priests from Karnataka's Shringeri Math, the prime minister performed "Ganapati Homam" to invoke Gods to bless the inauguration of the new Parliament building.
The prime minister prostrated before the Sengol and sought blessings from high priests of various adheenams in Tamil Nadu with the holy sceptre in hand.
Modi then carried the Sengol in a procession amid tunes of "nadaswaram" and chanting of Vedic mantras to the new Parliament building and installed it in a special enclosure on the right side of the Speaker's chair in the Lok Sabha chamber.
Several Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Mansukh Mandaviya and Jitendra Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP president J P Nadda among other leaders were present on the occasion.
The prime minister felicitated with shawls and souvenirs some workers who played key roles in the construction of the new Parliament building.
A multi-faith prayer was also held to mark the occasion.
The prime minister along with the Speaker and some other dignitaries later went to the old Parliament House.
The events to mark the inauguration are being held amid a boycott by several Opposition parties which insist that President Droupadi Murmu as head of the state should do the honours.
With agency inputs