Expressing 'pain' over opposition parties boycotting the Constitution Day event organised by the Lok Sabha secretariat on Friday, speaker Om Birla said staying away from such non-partisan events held by Parliament is not good for the health of democracy.
Around 15 Opposition parties, including the Congress, boycotted the programme organised by the Lok Sabha to celebrate the Samvidhan Samman Divas.
Besides the Congress, the Samajwadi Party, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Indian Union Muslim League stayed away from the event.
Speaking to reporters after the programme, Birla said, "This culture of boycotting non-partisan events, which are of national interest, is not good for the health of democracy."
Birla said he will sit with the representatives from the opposition parties and discuss how it can be ensured that all political parties attend such events.
"I am deeply hurt as the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha that several political parties boycotted the event organised by Parliament to commemorate the Constitution Day," Birla said.
He found it strange that the parties boycotting the event did not even inform him about their decision.
"If they had some issues, they should have discussed it with me. I would have tried to resolve their issues so that they could attend the event," the Lok Sabha speaker said.
The people of the country expect Parliament to function in an orderly manner and all political parties should try to ensure that the House runs smoothly, he added.
Arrangements were made for Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and his counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge -- both from the Congress -- to sit on the dais. It was also intimated to both leaders.
Speaking at the event, Birla said the Constitution is like a modern version of the Bhagavad Gita that motivates every Indian to work for the nation.
"The Constitution of India is like a modern version of the Gita for us that motivates us to work for the nation. If each one of us commits to working for the country, we can build 'Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat'," he said.
Birla further said the Constitution upholds the unity and dignity of the citizens of the country and it is the moral duty of every countryman to preserve it.
"Symbolising the collective consciousness of the countrymen, this holy book empowers us with rights and also determines our duties towards the country. On this day, if we take the resolve to perform these duties, it will be a true tribute to the founding fathers of the Constitution," he added.