Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Sunday targeted the Centre, saying that various religious rituals performed at the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi show that the country was being taken backwards.
He said the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had envisaged a society having a scientific temperament, but the rituals conducted during the opening of the new Parliament complex were contrary to his vision.
PM Modi inaugurated the new building this morning at a grand ceremony which included a havan, a multi-faith prayer ceremony and the installation of the Sengol in a special enclosure in the Lok Sabha chamber.
Speaking to reporters in Pune, Pawar said, "There is a huge difference between the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru talking about the concept of modern India and a series of rituals performed at the new Parliament building today in New Delhi. I fear that we are taking our country backward by decades."
"One cannot compromise on science. Nehru was persistent about his wish to form a society with a scientific temperament. But what is happening today at the inaugural ceremony of the new Parliament building is exactly the opposite of what Nehru had envisaged," he said.
About 20 opposition parties, including the NCP, boycotted the new Parliament building inauguration event, alleging that President Droupadi Murmu has been denied the right to inaugurate the building and called it an insult to India's first woman president from the tribal community.
Expressing his disappointment over the absence of the president and the vice president at the inauguration ceremony, the former Union minister said, "The president is the head of the state, while the vice president is the head of the Rajya Sabha. They should have been invited to this event."
"The functioning of Parliament commences with the speech of the president. Then why were they not invited?" Pawar asked.
Replying to a query whether he was invited to the event or not, Pawar said, "I do not know whether I was invited or not. My Delhi office may have received the invitation but I am not aware of it."