Oppn's every word valuable: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses media in Parliament on Monday.

The opposition need not bother about their numbers as the government considers every word uttered by them as valuable, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Monday.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Budget Session, Modi urged the newly elected Lok Sabha members to beyond the binaries of treasury and opposition and think of issues in an impartial spirit and work in the larger interest of the nation.

“The presence of a strong and active opposition is mandatory in a parliamentary democracy. I hope the opposition will not bother about their numbers. The people of the nation have given them the numbers, but for us every word of theirs and every feeling of theirs is valuable,” the prime minister said.

Modi's remarks are being seen as an indication of the NDA government being inclined to grant the Leader of the Opposition status to the Congress party despite it being short of numbers. The Congress party had won 52 Lok Sabha seat in the 345-member house, two short of the 10% requirement for being granted the Leader of the Opposition status in the Lok Sabha.

Congress had made it clear that it would not stake claim to the Leader of the Opposition post, which carries the rank of a Cabinet Minister and plays an important statutory role in key appointments such as that of the CBI Director, the Lokpal and the Central Vigilance Commissioner.

Underlining the importance of an active opposition in a parliamentary democracy, Modi said he hoped the opposition “will speak actively and participate in House proceedings... I am hopeful that this session will be productive.”

“After several decades, a government has won absolute majority for the second term. People have given us the chance to serve the country again. I request all the parties to support the decisions that are in favour of people,” Modi said.

Modi noted that the 17th Lok Sabha has the highest ever representation of women members and quite a sizeable number of first time members.

“This is the first session with new members, there will be a flow of new energy and reflection of new enthusiasm in the House to realise the aspirations of the people,” he said.

Even at the all party meeting on Sunday, Modi had reached out to the opposition asking the leaders to “introspect whether members of parliament are able to fulfill people's aspirations as their representatives”.

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led NDA coalition won 353 seats, out of the total 542 Lok Sabha seats. The Congress won 52 seats while its allies won 40 seats.

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