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Last Updated : Jul 03, 2019 11:03 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Despite having less than 1/10 Lok Sabha seats, Congress seeks Leader of Opposition post: Report

The norms suggest that the position is given to the largest Opposition party that has not less than one-tenth of the total strength of the Lok Sabha. Congress is three short of the number

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Indian National Congress’ Lok Sabha chief whip Kodikunnil Suresh said on July 2 that the party should be given the Leader of Opposition status, according to a report in The Hindu.

Suresh said the party was technically eligible for the post and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should accord it the position if he was sincere about his comments on the need for an active Opposition.

Ahead of the Budget session of Parliament, PM Modi had reached out to the Opposition saying: “The Opposition need not bother about their numbers. I hope they speak actively and participate in House proceedings."

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"When we come to Parliament, we should forget paksh (treasury) and vipaksh (opposition). We should think about issues with a nishpaksh (impartial) spirit and work in the larger interest of the nation," PM Modi had said.

The report quotes Suresh as saying that PM Modi should offer the Leader of the Opposition post to the Congress and the Deputy Speaker’s post to another Opposition party, if the Prime Minister was indeed sincere about what he said on the importance of the Opposition.

Suresh told the newspaper that while Congress had so far not demanded the position, it was technically eligible as it is the second largest party in the Lok Sabha and as leader of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which has 92 seats in the House.

What are the norms for Leader of Opposition post?

The norms suggest that the position is given to the leader of the largest Opposition party that has not less than one-tenth of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.

The strength of the Lok Sabha is 545 (543 elected + two nominated). Hence, a party that has 55 seats in the Lower House can receive the post. While the Congress is the second largest party in the House, it has 52 seats, three short of the required figure.

The Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 only states that the largest Opposition party should receive the position. The Lok Sabha has not had a Leader of Opposition since 2014 when the Congress, as the second largest party, did not garner enough seats to secure the post.
First Published on Jul 3, 2019 11:03 am
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