Cong should get LoP post: Sonia

Cong should get LoP post: Sonia

Cong should get LoP post: Sonia

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s strong pitch for the party being given the Leader of the Opposition post in the Lok Sabha pushed the UPA into action, with leaders planning to make a formal representation to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in this regard.

“Yes, we have lost the elections. We have accepted defeat. But, we are the largest party (in the Opposition), and also a pre-poll alliance. We should get the Leader of the Opposition post in Lok Sabha,” Gandhi told mediapersons in Parliament on Monday.

However, the Congress’ fresh pitch for the post and senior leader Kamal Nath’s remarks casting aspersions on the neutrality of the Speaker did not go down well with the NDA government.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Nath’s remarks were unfortunate, and that the Speaker was above the party line.

Meanwhile, the Congress and its alliance partners are in the process of making a joint appeal to the Speaker for Mallikarjun Kharge being recognised as the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha.

“The letter is ready, and awaits the signature of a few of our colleagues. It will be submitted to the Speaker as soon as we get all the signatures,” said a senior Congress leader.

The Modi government contends that the Congress, which has 44 members in Lok Sabha, is short of the numbers required for being recognised as a parliamentary party in the House, and thus does not qualify to get the post of the Leader of the Opposition, which has the pay and perks of a Cabinet minister.

Besides, laws make it mandatory that the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha be consulted on appointments to key posts, such as the Central Vigilance Commissioner, the NHRC Chairman, Lokpal, the Chief Information Commissioner and the CBI Director.

Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma called the NDA government's argument “fallacious”. “There is only one law—the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977—that a party in the opposition with the largest number (of MPs) will have the LoP post. No other Act or statute has any other definition for the LoP,” he said.

“The government is trying to subvert the appointment of Lokpal, CVC and other key posts by denying the LoP status to the Congress. We will not allow that to happen,” added Sharma.

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