Cong may not get Oppn leader status

Cong may not get Oppn leader status

Cong may not get Oppn leader status

With election results indicating a drastic dip in Congress seat share, the country’s oldest party is unlikely to get officially recognised as leader of the Opposition in the 16th Lok Sabha.

Though the Congress emerged as the single largest Opposition party in the lower House of Parliament, it is unlikely to get formal recognition as leader of Opposition unless it gets 10 per cent of Lok Sabha seats or 55 seats in the 543-strong House.

According to rules, the main Opposition party shall be recognised as such only if it commands at least one-tenth of the strength of the House. In the present context, the Congress needs to have at least 54 seats in a House of 543 to be accorded the status of the leader of Opposition, says Subash Kashyap, an eminent constitutional expert.

“If a major Opposition party gets less than 54 seats, this would mean there would be no leader of Opposition. There will be different Opposition parties and each party will have its own leader.

But there won’t be any single recognised Opposition leader drawing perks, salaries and allowances on a par with a cabinet rank minister,” Kashyap, who also served as Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha, told Deccan Herald.

However, during appointment of different committees on which the leader of the Opposition is a member like CVC or Lokpal, Kashyap said, “A specific decision will have to be taken in that respect.” The leader of the largest Opposition party will, in all likelihood, be eligible to be a member of such committees.

He said it will entirely depend on the Speaker’s  discretion to recognise “an association of members as a parliamentary group” if it has a minimum strength of 30 members.
If the government wishes it can keep that position in the panel vacant and go ahead with the appointments by changing the rules.