Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s grand unveiling of the new parliament complex, accompanied by Vedic rituals, has drawn criticism from various political figures, including All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi. Owaisi, while questioning the PM’s choice to invite only seers from a specific religion, emphasized that as the leader of 1.3 billion Indians, Modi should have included representatives from all faiths in the momentous event.
During the inauguration, PM Modi performed the ‘Ganapati Homam’ ritual, seeking divine blessings from priests of the Shringeri Mutt in Karnataka. Clad in traditional attire, he reverently carried the ‘Sengol,’ a sacred item, accompanied by the resonating sounds of ‘nadaswaram’ and the recitation of mantras. The procession culminated with the placement of the ‘Sengol’ on the right side of the Speaker’s chair in the Lok Sabha chamber.
Owaisi expressed his disappointment at the exclusion of religious leaders from other faiths. He questioned the PM’s decision to solely engage Hindu priests, stating, “I observed the Prime Minister’s entry into the Parliament, accompanied by 18-20 Hindu pujaris chanting mantras. Why did he not invite Christian pastors, Muslim maulanas, and representatives from other religions? As the Prime Minister of India, he should have embraced diversity and inclusivity.”
Owaisi’s concerns were echoed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who critiqued the religious rituals performed during the ceremony. Pawar highlighted the disparity between former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of a modern India and the current event, cautioning that the country may regress if it embraces such religious exclusivity. “We must be cautious not to undo the progress we have made over the decades,” Pawar cautioned.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also weighed in, describing PM Modi as an authoritarian leader with little regard for parliamentary procedures. Ramesh criticized the PM’s absence from parliamentary activities and accused him of fabricating facts. In his tweet, Ramesh lamented the supposed collusion between distorted historical narratives and media sensationalism, noting that this inauguration event reached new depths in 2023.
The criticism surrounding the new parliament complex’s inauguration highlights the need for leaders to foster an environment of inclusivity and secularism. As India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi shoulders the responsibility of representing and serving the diverse population of 1.3 billion citizens, transcending religious boundaries. The parliament complex, as a symbol of democracy and governance, should embody these principles to reinforce the nation’s secular fabric.