NEW DELHI: Though indications are there that a decision on the Leader of Opposition(LoP)post will be taken at the end of the ongoing Budget session of Parliament, the Congress and the government on Tuesday exchanged barbs, dragging Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan into their partisan tussle.
Deputy Leader of the Congress in the House, Amarinder Singh, said the party has written to the Speaker,staking its claim for the post and that she is yet to take a decision.
“This means a decision will be taken in consultation with the government. This means whatever the government will want will happen,” he told journalists, outside Parliament.
The latest reaction from the Congress camp came in the backdrop of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) initiating the process of selecting the next Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Vigilance Commissioner (VC) since the tenure of the incumbents would expire in September.
And the DoPT has written to all the ministries and departments to shortlist the applicants for the two posts, while attaching a set of guidelines. According to the communique, “The Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People shall, when no such leader has been so recognised, include the leader of the single largest group in Opposition of the Government in the House of the People”.
It was the DoPT move which triggered the latest round of sparring between the government and main Opposition Congress.
The Congress read it as a move by the government to not formally give the LoP post to the party.
Mahajan maintained that it was her endeavour to give equal time to all. “It is indeed my effort (to ensure) that all parties get equal chance to speak and I am striving for it,” she told reporters.
The Congress accused the Central government of playing “petty politics” over the issue and hoped that the Speaker will not allow her judgement to be “coloured” by politics.