The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday alleged that the Congress displayed disregard for Hindu traditions by calling the sacred 'Sengol' a "golden stick gifted" to former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and tucking it away in a museum.
The ceremonial sceptre, which will be installed in the new Parliament building, was given to Nehru to symbolise the transfer of power from the British to India in August 1947. It was kept in the Nehru Gallery of the Allahabad Museum.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now install the 'Sengol' "in the Lok Sabha, prominently close to the Speaker's podium", BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya said, asserting that it has been given its rightful place.
His remarks come a day after 20 Opposition parties, including Congress, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party, announced to boycott the inauguration of the building on May 28 by Modi.
They said the prime minister's decision to inaugurate it by himself, "completely sidelining President Droupadi Murmu, is not only a grave insult but a direct assault on our democracy which demands a commensurate response".
The vesting of the "sacred 'Sengol' with Nehru, on the eve of India's Independence, was the exact moment of transfer of power from the British to India, Malviya said.
"But instead of being given the pride of its place, it was tucked away in Anand Bhavan, and called the golden stick gifted to Nehru," he said in a tweet, adding, "Such is the disdain for Hindu rituals in the Congress."
Malviya said Prime Minister Modi will now install the 'Sengol' from 1947, "in the Lok Sabha, prominently close to the Speaker's podium". It will be displayed for the nation to see, and it will be also "taken out on special occasions," he said.
"It is now Sengol vs Opposition," the BJP leader added.
Made of silver with a coat of gold, the historical sceptre will be installed near the Chair of the Lok Sabha Speaker on the same day the new Parliament building is dedicated to the nation.
Following the announcement of boycott by the Opposition parties, the BJP-led National Democratic alliance on Wednesday launched a sharp counterattack on the Opposition parties for their decision to boycott the new Parliament building's inauguration, slamming their stand as a "blatant affront to democratic ethos and constitutional values of our great nation".
In a statement, leaders of 14 parties of the ruling alliance also implored the Opposition parties to reconsider their decision.
Prof S Rajavelu, formerly with the department of maritime history and marine archaeology of Tamil University, said it was a traditional Chola practice for Samayacharyas (spiritual leaders) to lead the coronation of kings and sanctify the transfer of power, which is also considered a kind of recognition for the ruler.
"Tamil kings had this 'Sengol' (a Tamil word for sceptre), which is a symbol of justice and good governance. The two great epics Silapathikaram and Manimekalai record the significance of a 'Sengol'," he said.