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Tussle in Cong over LOP

Tussle in Cong over LOP
Highlights

Tussle in Congress Over LOP. Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is likely to accept the post of Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, provided the Congress manages to get recognition from the newly-elected Speaker.

  • It is at the Speaker’s discretion to give main Oppn status to a ‘party’ or a ‘group’
  • Kamal Nath, Shashi Tharoor and Veerappa Moily are in the race for LOP
  • AIADMK and TMC coming together is being rejected as it is a post poll alliance

New Delhi: Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is likely to accept the post of Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, provided the Congress manages to get recognition from the newly-elected Speaker. The Speaker will take the call whether a “Group” or the “Party” will be given the status of principal Opposition party.

According to sources, former parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath is lobbying hard to become Leader of the Opposition, given his seniority in the party. His move, however, is being resisted by the Kerala MPs, on the plea that since it was their State, which brought the highest number of representatives to the Lok Sabha, numbering 12, they should be given priority. Here, the name of the second-time MP Shashi Tharoor, who is also close to Rahul Gandhi, is being taken. Former Law Minister M Veerappa Moily is the third contender for the post.

The move by AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee to join hands, in order to stake the claim for the post of Leader of Opposition is being rejected by the Congress, as it would be a post-poll grouping, while the UPA is a pre-poll alliance. Jayalalithaa secured a massive tally of 37 seats, while Mamata was fourth, with 34 seats.

As per Section 2 of Leaders and Chief Whips of Recognized Parties and Groups in Parliament (Facilities) Act, 1998, a party needs to have at least 55 MPs in the Lok Sabha to be recognized as one within the House. Since the Congress secured only 44 seats, it cannot claim the post of Leader of Opposition. However, the Speaker, in his discretion, can give the same status, if not to a party, at least to a group. The Congress is likely to take the call only after the taking of oath of the newly-elected MPs and after the Speaker’s ruling on the status of the Congress or the UPA.

As of now, AICC Vice-President Rahul Gandhi gave enough signals that he is prepared to don the mantle of a leader. While addressing his voters in Amethi on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi said, “It’s time for struggle. We are ready for it.” It will be seen if, irrespective of the status of Leader of Opposition, Rahul Gandhi is prepared to lead the Congress from the front. While a section of the Congress leaders want Congress president Sonia Gandhi to become LoP, the mother is in favour of her son to take-up the challenge.

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