Speaker Advised Against LoP Post to Congress
NEW DELHI: Following the counsel from the legal and Constitutional experts, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has realised the “rules do not permit according of Leader of Opposition (post) to Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge as the party does not have the requisite numbers to claim it”.
It is reliably learnt that Mahajan was told by the experts that she would have to overrule a direction given by the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha, G V Mavalankar, popularly known as Dadasaheb, if she were to accord the LoP status to Kharge whose party, the Congress, has less than 10 per cent of the total seats in the Lower House.
Dadasaheb’s ruling, a top source said, was later incorporated in the rule book a the Direction of the Speaker 121(1).
The Leader of Opposition has the rank of a Cabinet Minister and has over the years acquired very many Constitutional obligations.
“How can she bend the rules to grant the status to the Congress when the mandate is not with them?” the source added.
The Congress had formally staked its claim to the post on Tuesday.
In the last couple of days, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has been hinting that the LoP position may not be given to the Congress, which has only 44 MPs.
However, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier said that the BJP will not display shallow mentality on such issues.
The BJP leaders had on Friday pointed out that the final decision on the matter rested with the Speaker, but it was a tough call. As for the appointment of the Lokpal and other Constitutional posts, the rules are being studied to find a way out.
The Congress may not get the Deputy Speaker’s post as well, since the BJP is citing a precedence by which the post has been given to an Opposition party of the ruling dispensation’s choice.
In this case, the BJP would like to give the post to AIADMK leader in the Lok Sabha M Thambidurai, who is already being congratulated by the other MPs.
The BJP, however, indicated that the Public Accounts Committee post may automatically go to the Congress.