'Grant LoP status to Kharge'

'Grant LoP status to Kharge'

'Grant LoP status to Kharge'

The Congress on Thursday made a formal representation before Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan seeking grant of Leader of the Opposition (LoP) status to Mallikarjun Kharge.

Kharge, the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, led a delegation of party MPs to Mahajan and formally made a claim to the post of the LoP and also an additional seat in the front row for deputy leader Amarinder Singh.

As per the current seating arrangement communicated to political parties, the Congress was allotted two seats in the front row which would be occupied by Kharge and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Congress has been insisting that the Speaker should consider the UPA and a pre-poll alliance which has 59 members in the Lok Sabha. The Congress, which has 44 members in the Lok Sabha, is 10 members short of the required strength a political party should have for getting the LoP status with pay and perks of a Cabinet Minister.

The Lok Sabha Speaker is expected to give her ruling on the Leader of the opposition issue before the commencement of the Budget Session of Parliament on July 7.

Parliament sources said Congress leaders discussed the seating arrangement in the Lok Sabha and other issues with the Speaker.

There are indications that Mahajan would strictly go by the rule book before taking a call on demands by the Congress and its alliance partners to designate one of their members as the LoP.

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