Despite crushing defeat, Jagan seeks LoP status by citing examples

Reddy claimed that no law states that 10 per cent seats are required to confer the principal opposition party status, and added that such a practice has not been followed in Parliament or the state’s assembly.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 10:18 IST

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Hyderabad: YSRCP chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday wrote to Andhra assembly speaker seeking leader of opposition status to him. In the May elections in a crushing defeat YSRCP could win only 11 seats of the total 175 of Andhra Pradesh assembly and lost to the TDP combine that had won an overwhelming mandate of 164 seats.

In the letter he said that 'Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly' notified under Article 208 of the Constitution of India do not prescribe any mandatory percentage of seats to be secured by a political party for recognising its chief as the Leader of Opposition (LoP).

Nor has there been any convention of insistence of 10 per cent strength on the floor of the House for the Opposition party, in the unified State of Andhra Pradesh to grant such recognition as LoP, he added.

Jagan said that the sequence followed on June 21 to administer oath by the newly elected members of the House left him with an impression that there is already a decision taken not to grant the status of Leader of Opposition (LoP) to him.

“On 21.06.2024, the customary tradition of administering oaths to the elected members of the Legislative Assembly was undertaken. The convention, on past practices, which has been followed for the sequential process thereof was as under: First, the leader of the August House, the Leader of the Opposition followed by the Ministers in the Cabinet and other MLAs. The procedure followed showed that the Chief Minister, being the Leader of the August House, was first administered the oath. Thereafter, the Council of Ministers were administered the oath. I was called upon to be administered the oath only after the Ministers. The above sequence leaves me with an impression that there is already a decision taken not to grant the status of Leader of Opposition (LoP) to me,” Jagan said in the letter to the speaker.

He cited that P Upendra of TDP was granted the position o f LoP in the Lok Sabha in the year 1984 even though TDP only secured 30 seats out of a total of 543 Seats.

Similarly, P Janardhana Reddy was accorded the position of LoP in the AP Legislative Assembly in the year 1994 even though the Indian National Congress (INC) Party only secured 26 out of a total of 294 seats.

“In recent vintage, the Legislative Assembly of the State of Delhi in the year 2015, has accorded the status of Leader of Opposition (LoP) to the BJP even though they only secured 3 out of a total of 70 seats. I am constrained to address this letter in public interest seeking to exercise my right to speak substantially and substantively with due consideration of sufficient time to air the grievances of the people at large. Absent such status and given the hostilities already displayed, my opportunities and duration of time to speak on public issues, would be at the mercy of the ruling combine which has an overwhelming majority and the discretion of the Speaker, who wishes to see me dead. It is hoped that this communication is viewed in the perspective which I intend in the peculiar circumstances of the present numerical composition of the House,” Jagan said.

The recognition of the floor leader of YSRCLP as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) with the associated rights o f addressing the matters o f grave public concern, with due and sufficient time, imparts the necessary bi-partisanship to the proceedings of the House and the legitimacy of ensuring participation of divergent and opposing views on the policies of the Government.

“In the absence of such a mechanism, with an overwhelming majority secured by the ruling combine, the proceedings o f the Assembly would reflect an echo-chamber of the Government and not a place for vibrant debates,” said Jagan.

Published 25 June 2024, 10:18 IST

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