LS Speaker denies Cong LoP post

LS Speaker denies Cong LoP post

In a snub to the Congress, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Tuesday refused to recognise its leader Mallikarjun Kharge as the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, citing inadequate numbers of the party and past precedents.

The Congress, which managed to win just 44 seats in the general elections, had petitioned the Speaker last month for Kharge’s recognition as the Leader of the Opposition.

It had staked claim to the post contending that it had the requisite numbers along with its pre-poll alliance partners.

In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mahajan cited Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha, past precedents and the opinion of the Attorney General to deny the main Opposition party the post, which enjoys the privileges of a Cabinet-rank minister.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the Speaker made it clear to the Congress that it lacked the required numbers—55, or one-tenth of the total strength of the House—for its leader to be recognised as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP).

Besides being entitled to the pay and perks of a Cabinet minister, under several laws, the LoP has to be consulted by the government before making key appointments, such as those for the posts of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, NHRC chairman, Lokpal and CBI Director, among others.

Kharge told Deccan Herald that the party would decide on the future course of action.

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