NEW DELHI: Going by the past precedence, newly-elected Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, in consultation with the government, has decided that the 16th Lok Sabha may not have a Leader of Opposition.
But to circumvent the situation whereby appointment to certain constitutional positions, like that of the Lokpal or the CVC, requires the Leader of Opposition to be part of the selection procedure, sources said, the government may go for an enabling amendment which would allow the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha to be on the panel.
Ghulam Nabi Azad assumed the Leader of Opposition post in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. In the Lok Sabha, the biggest Opposition party needs to have 10 per cent seat of the total strength of the House that is at least 55 seats to qualify for the post of Leader of Opposition. The new Speaker is going by the past precedence of Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi-led Lok Sabhas where no Opposition party had the numbers to claim the Leader of Opposition post, hence there was none.
The first hint that the Speaker may not formally anoint leader of the Congress-the largest Opposition party in the 16th Lok Sabha with 44 MPs - Mallikarjun Kharge as the LoP came from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who said, “What can we do if the people of this country did not trust the Congress with even the Leader of Opposition position this election?’’
Up for grabs is also the post of Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the post of Public Accounts Committee chairman, both which go to the Opposition. Indications are that, the government is still trying to persuade the AIADMK to accept the Deputy Speaker’s post. With 37 MPs, the AIADMK is the second largest Opposition party. The PAC chairman’s post may go to the BJD.
LS Witnesses First Storm of Season
New Delhi: The Ordinance on the Polavaram irrigation project triggered the first protest in the 16th Lok Sabha on Monday with TRS members storming the well against the move. The BJD and TRS MPs were on their feet as soon as MoS for Parliamentary Affairs Santosh Gangwar tabled the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014, promulgated last month. The trouble started soon after the LS met after the President’s Address to the joint sitting of Parliament. The BJD MPs shouted slogans against Pollavarm projectTRS MPs, carrying placards, also raised slogans in favour of Telangana and against the project. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked the MPs not to raise slogans saying they can speak on the issue when the Bill comes up for discussion. As the protests continued, the House was adjourned for the day after laying of papers, including the President’s Address.