The success of a democracy lies also in the strength of the Opposition (“It’s for Speaker to decide on LoP: Venkaiah,” July 7). So, even if the Congress has not got the requisite strength in order to be eligible for the post of Leader of Opposition, its leader should be recognised as one. This post is immensely important and has a bearing on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act and the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission Bill. Playing politics with the post will only allow the BJP government to take unilateral decisions.
The government’s plan to deny the status of Leader of the Opposition to the Congress under the pretext of rules and precedence has reduced the parliamentary Opposition into a play of tokenism. On the contrary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be viewed as a great statesman, if he, without any further fuss, accords the status of LoP to the Congress. To say that the Speaker has a role to play in this is incorrect as the Speaker by and large is the government’s mind. India has two major parties capable of governing us, that is, the BJP and the Congress, and this is the opportune moment for the BJP to demonstrate that there is substance over form.
The clamour by the Congress to get the LoP status only supports arguments that it is intended to weaken the mandate of the people. Assuming that people in a democracy make wise choices, this election was a clear vote against the Congress. Just as governments are judged by the exactitude of their numbers, the fact is that the BJP was not shown any grace when it fell short by one MP to form the government in 1999. Legal positions should be decided not on the basis of political sentiment and nostalgia but sound legality so that the mandate of people is honoured in its entirety.
Hitesh Kumar Waghray,
The initiatives by the Congress to claim the position of the LoP are unseemly and legally untenable. The fact is that the Congress and its allies contested the 2014 election aiming for UPA-III but each of them had a separate manifesto and symbol. It is time the Congress comes to terms with the fact that it has been comprehensively defeated and that it is best to rebuild the party from scratch. The duties of the Opposition can be handled for now by the party in majority.