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No LoP post for Congress: Speaker

The Congress demand for being accorded the status of Leader of Opposition to its group chief in Lok Sabha was on Tuesday rejected by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. File photo

The Congress demand for being accorded the status of Leader of Opposition to its group chief in Lok Sabha was on Tuesday rejected by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Lok Sabha Speraker has conveyed to the Congress that she was not in a position to give the party Leader of Opposition status as it fell short of the minimum 55 seats required for staking claim to the post.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has written to the Congress that neither “rules” nor “tradition” permits her to accede to the party’s demand for the post of Leader of the Opposition as it had failed to win at least 10 per cent of the seats in the House.



The Speaker’s decision came in response to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s letter to her, seeking the post for Mallikarjun Kharge, the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha.



Through the Budget session, the government’s parliamentary managers had made it clear that the Congress would not get the status.



The Speaker even sought legal opinion, including of Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi.



The consensus was that the Congress, the second largest party in the Lok Sabha, did not qualify for the post as the ‘Directions of the Speaker’ rules mandated.



Ms. Mahajan is understood to have made this point, as well as cited the precedents of 1980 and 1984, when the Lok Sabha had no recognised Leader of the Opposition.



The Congress’s argument was that things had changed since then.



For instance, now the Chief Information Commissioner and the Central Vigilance Commissioner are appointed by the President on the basis of a recommendation made by a committee of the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

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Printable version | Nov 15, 2018 10:18:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lok-sabha-speaker-sumitra-mahajan-rejects-congress-demand-for-leader-of-opposition-status/article6332180.ece

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