New Delhi: The Indian National Congress will not demand the post of leader of the opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha once again. The Congress had only 44 MPs in the last Lok Sabha, hence the party did not get the status. This time again, falling short of the number of MPs required for the position — 10% of the strength of the Lok Sabha — the party will not stake this claim.
An opposition party needs to have at least 55 MPs in the 545-member strong Lower House, out of which 543 are elected positions, to get the LoP position. However, even a score of 54 is considered.
Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala made it clear that such a demand would not be placed on behalf of the party.
Surjewala was quoted by news agency ANI on Twitter as saying that his party would not make any such demand of the government due to the lack of adequate numbers. He said it was a fact that the LoP position demanded 10% of the strength of House. “Since we’re two short officially, we can’t have a Leader of Opposition.”
However, the Congress betrayed its expectation when its spokesman said the onus lay on the government as to whether they wanted to designate a party formally as the principal opposition.
RS Surjewala on Leader of Opposition: It's a fact that,it's 10% of the strength of House. Since we're 2 short officially we can't have a Leader of Opposition. However onu also lies at doorsteps of govt-whether they want to designate a party formally as principal opposition or not pic.twitter.com/PjbtBs77oC
— ANI (@ANI) June 1, 2019
While the Congress had failed to occupy the LoP position in the 16th Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge was the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. He has lost the election to Umesh Jadhav of the BJP this time and couldn’t make it to Parliament.
Today, the Congress parliamentary party met. Sonia Gandhi was re-elected as the leader of the parliamentary party in the meeting.
The DMK with 23 seats, with TR Baalu as its Lok Sabha leader; YSR Congress Party and All India Trinamool Congress with 22 seats each, fall far short of the cut-off mark of 55 too. Hence, no party technically qualifies to get the LoP position.