Walter Lippman’s enlightening essay, written in 1939, titled “The Indispensable Opposition,” must be brought to the attention of the Prime Minister, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister and the Lok Sabha Speaker. No democracy can function effectively without a strong and articulate Opposition. As things stand in the Lok Sabha, the Opposition is hardly a functioning unit considering that many of the groups in it are direct or indirect supporters of the BJP. Therefore, the UPA allies and the Trinamool Congress are likely to constitute the only genuine Opposition players. Given the fact that the country was ruled during the past 10 years by the UPA conglomerate, which also went to the polls as one entity, it is only fair that the post of the LoP should go to the leader of the UPA, the Congress. The argument that the Congress does not have the mandate to lead the Opposition, does not wash. If a mere 31 per cent vote share gives the BJP the right to rule the country, the Congress, with about 19 per cent vote share, is eminently qualified to lead the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. It is also the only national party in the Opposition. The Congress should stop begging the BJP for the post of LoP, become aggressive and approach the Supreme Court for a solution. It does not behove the BJP to bully its fallen adversary!
The desperate attempts by the Congress to get the position of the LoP only shows that its hunger for power has not diminished. It must understand that people judged it against its 10-year record which was largely known for scams. What the party needs to do first is to set its house in order before it begins to even dream of the LoP.
It is a pity that the Congress has been relegated to such a position after the 2014 Lok Sabha election that it has to beg and plead for LoP status. Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath has reportedly asserted that there is no rule which says that a party cannot get LoP status unless it has 10 per cent of the total strength in the Lok Sabha. Constitutional experts should clarify whether such a rule exists or not. If Parliament feels that the appointment of CIC, CVC and Lok Pal cannot be made without LoP, it can move amendments in the Constitution to repeal the clause, if any, that requires a minimum 10 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha to have LoP status.
Right now, it appears that the BJP and its partners are in no mood to oblige the Congress.