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Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla recognises Rahul Gandhi as Leader of Opposition

As he is now officially the LoP in Lok Sabha, he will be instrumental in sitting with the prime minister in several key committees to appoint Election Commissioners, members of CVC and the CBI, among others.
Last Updated : 26 June 2024, 10:15 IST

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New Delhi: New Delhi: The Lok Sabha Secretariat on Wednesday issued a notification wherein Speaker Om Birla recognised Rahul Gandhi as the Leader of the Opposition.

As he is now officially the LoP in Lok Sabha, he will be instrumental in sitting with the prime minister in several key committees to appoint Election Commissioners, members of CVC and the CBI, among others.

The Lok Sabha will have a LoP after a gap of ten years – in 2014 and in 2019 the Congress’s strength in the House was 44 and 52 respectively – lesser than the 55 or 10 per cent of the House’s total strength needed to be accorded the Leader of Opposition post. In the previous Lok Sabha, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was identified by the Speaker as the Leader of Congress, not giving him the official recognition.

By taking on the post, Gandhi will occupy a Constitutional post which has been served by both his parents – Rajiv Gandhi in the 9th Lok Sabha between 1989 and 1990 and Sonia Gandhi in the 13th Lok Sabha between 1999 and 2004 – as well as political veterans like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sushma Swaraj and Sharad Pawar.

The position, statutorily recognised by the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act 1977, also accords Gandhi the privileges of a Cabinet minister.

Former Lok Sabha Secretary General PDT Achary said that the LoP is like a shadow prime minister. “The Leader of Opposition is an important position; it is like the Prime Minister-in-waiting. The LoP’s job is not just to criticise the government but also present alternative policies. LoP has the primacy in debates. While in Britain, the Prime Minister is in regular touch with the LoP on important issues, but here we don’t have that,” Achary said.

Appointments that need a collegium, including the Election Commissioners, members of the Central Vigilance Commission, Central Information Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, National Human Rights Commission of India, and Lokpal will also require Gandhi’s involvement.

Only of the key appointments that Gandhi will now oversee in Parliament will be the appointment of Lok Sabha Secretary General, as the tenure of the current officer Utpal Kumar Singh comes to an end in November this year.

Additionally, a staff of 15 officers, as well as a Type 8 Bungalow will be available to him in addition to a room in the Samvidhan Sadan, in addition to other benefits.

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Published 26 June 2024, 10:15 IST

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