Indore: Reiterating her stand of not giving the Leader of Opposition (LoP) post to the Congress Party, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Saturday said the former does not have the required one-tenth strength of members in the lower house of Parliament.
“The fact that as a Speaker I have taken the decision not to give the Leader of Opposition post to the opposition is based on certain rules…. There are certain norms for recognition of Leader of Opposition… an opposition party must have 1/10 strength of the Lok Sabha to stake claim for that post,” Mahajan said.
“These parties must have an alliance before the polls but their agenda was different. So, we can’t give them the Leader of Opposition post. Moreover, the Congress has only 44 seats and is not fulfilling 1/10 of the required strength,” she added.
She clarified that the Supreme Court has sought answers from the government and not from her on this issue.
“I have taken a decision after consultations. The Supreme Court has asked the government and not the Speaker,” she added.
Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to explain why there is no Leader of Opposition in the Parliament. The apex court gave the government a month’s time to come up with an answer on how it proposes to select Lokpal members, if such a post remains vacant or does not exist.
The committee to select the nine members of the Lokpal is meant to include the Leader of Opposition along with the Prime Minister and others. The apex court pointed out that the make-up of the committee is part of the law passed by Parliament that brings the Lokpal into existence.
The Congress had earlier claimed that as the single largest opposition party, its floor leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, should be recognized as the Leader of Opposition. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, citing rules said that a party must have at least 55 members in the Lower House to claim the post.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Prashant Bhushan had brought the matter to the Supreme Court, asking the Centre to explain the delay in deciding the members of the Lokpal.
The Lokpal’s nine members are meant to include four former or serving judges.