New Delhi, Jun 24: INDIA bloc MPs gathered in the Parliament complex on Monday in a show of strength on the first day of the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, holding copies of the Constitution and raising slogans on "saving democracy".

Opposition leaders, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader Rahul Gandhi, Trinamool Congress' Sudip Bandyopadhyay, DMK's TR Baalu, among others assembled at the spot where the Gandhi statue once stood in the Parliament complex.

Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi also joined the MPs.

Holding copies of the Constitution in their hands, they raised slogans such as "long live Constitution", "we will save Constitution", "save our democracy".

Rahul Gandhi said they would not allow the Constitution to be "attacked" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

"This attack is not acceptable to us and that is why we held the Constitution and took oath," he said.

"Our message is reaching the public and no power can touch the Constitution of India and we will protect it," Gandhi added.

Congress leader KC Venugopal said the INDIA bloc leaders entered the 18th Lok Sabha with Mahatma Gandhi's blessings.

"The INDIA alliance enters the 18th Lok Sabha with Bapu's blessings and with a fresh resolve to give voice to people's issues, challenges, hopes and aspirations in Parliament and keep the government in check every single minute," he said in a post on X.

"We are the guardians of democracy. We are committed to protecting and upholding the Constitution. We are united in our resolve to fight against injustice," Venugopal said.

The Gandhi statue, which was a popular protest site for MPs, was recently relocated along with 14 other statues that dotted the complex to a new spot named Prerna Sthal.

Several opposition parties have claimed that the mandate of 2024 Lok Sabha elections was against the ruling BJP, even though it was able to form the government with support of other parties.

The INDIA bloc has also claimed that the results show that the people have backed the opposition parties to "save the Constitution".

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha began Monday morning. The newly elected members will be sworn in as members of the Lower House on Monday and Tuesday.

The Lok Sabha Speaker will be elected on June 26 and President Droupadi Murmu's address to joint sitting of both the Houses is scheduled for June 27.

The debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address will begin on June 28. The prime minister is expected to respond to the debate on July 2 or 3. PTI