NEW DELHI: India’s opposition parties on Wednesday said they would boycott the inauguration of a glitzy new parliament building, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of a “grave insult” to democracy by excluding the president.

Construction of the building is part of a Central Vista project aimed at revamping or replacing British colonial-era government facilities, including a new residence for the prime minister.

Work on the parliament building began in January 2021 and is estimated to have cost around 12 billion rupees ($145 million), according to media reports.Since the project was announced, it has faced criticism over a lack of transparency and high costs. It has also been hit by allegations it violated environmental and land laws.

On Wednesday, 19 opposition parties criticised the government’s decision to exclude Indian President Droupadi Murmu — the head of state — from an inauguration event set for Sunday in New Delhi.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2023

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