The Speaker has said that she would take a considered view on the subject after studying precedents as well as holding consultations with legal and constitutional luminaries.

The Janata Dal (United) has backed the case of the Congress for the post of the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha on the ground that there have been several precedents including the one in Bihar where the single largest party has been conferred with the status.

A day after the Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken had argued that it would not only be `unfortunate but undemocratic’ to deny the post to a party which has secured 19 per cent of the popular vote in the recently concluded general election, the JD (U) echoed the sentiments.

While maintaining that it was entirely for the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to take a call on the matter, the managers of the ruling NDA have given sufficient indications that there was no case for grant of status of LoP to the Congress as it did not have the required one-tenth seats in the Lok Sabha.

JD (U) General Secretary K C Tyagi said here on Friday, “In a similar situation in Bihar, the then Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of our party had given the status of Leader of Opposition to Adbul Bari Siddiqui of Rashtriya Janata Dal though his party did not have the numbers to claim it.”

Mr. Tyagi, whose party has two members in the Lok Sabha, argued that the main opposition party needed to be given the LoP status to ensure that the main opposition is on the committees to make key appointments like Central Vigilance Commissioner, head of the National Human Rights Commission and the Lokpal.

"At the Centre, the requirement is all the more. There are legal and constitutional requirements, which have to be fulfilled. That is why we are demanding that a leader of Congress should be given the Leader of Opposition status in Lok Sabha," Mr. Tyagi said.

The Speaker has said that she would take a considered view on the subject after studying precedents as well as holding consultations with legal and constitutional luminaries.

The view that the largest opposition party should have at least one-tenth of the 545 members of the House has been contested. In the 16 th Lok Sabha, no party has got 55 seats as the Congress, which is the single largest Opposition party, has only 44 seats.

“If in the appointment of the Lokpal,” AICC Communication Department Chairman Ajay Maken had said, “they ignore the Congress party, which has secured more than 19 percent votes in these Lok Sabha elections, one per cent more than what the BJP had got in the last elections, it would not only be unfortunate but also undemocratic.”

Mr Maken was responding on Thursday to questions on the party’s plan of action now as the government seemed unlikely to consult the Congress on key appointments such as that of the Lokpal.

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