With Congress Behind 55-Seat Mark, Lok Sabha Likely to Have No Leader of Oppn for Second Straight Term
File photo of the Parliament House.
New Delhi: Much like the 16th Lok Sabha in 2014, the lower house of the Parliament may be again bereft of the leader of opposition (LOP). As per the results of counting till 8 pm, the Congress has bagged 51 seats, which is four short of the mark needed for the LOP status.
The Leader of Opposition is a constitutional appointment and is part of the Central Vigilance Commission, Central Information Commission, National Human Rights Commission and National Judicial Appointments Commission.
According to parliamentary rules, the largest Opposition party in the House needs at least 10% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha, or 55 seats, to be eligible for the LOP post.
In the Lok Sabha about to be elected on Thursday, no opposition party has that number, with the Congress with 51 MPs so far appearing to be the largest Opposition party. The BJP, on the other hand, is likely to win 303 seats and obtain an absolute majority.
In 2014, the BJP had won 282 seats and, with its allies, enjoyed a strength of 336 MPs in the House. The Congress had put up its worst performance then.
There was no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha when Prime Ministers Jawahar Lal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi were in office at a time when the Congress enjoyed a brute majority in the lower house and the Opposition space had shrunk considerably.
When Gandhi was elected Prime Minister in 1984, the Congress bagged 404 seats in a house of 543. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief was made Leader of Opposition although the party had three seats less than the 10% mandated by the Parliament.
In 2014, the Congress had cited the TDP instance to stake claim over the LoP position. The speaker of the Lok Sabha is the final judge.
The Congress had a Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha where it was the largest party in 2014, with 67 members. Former Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was named the Leader of Opposition, while BJP leader Arun Jaitley was the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha. Jaitley had been the Leader of Opposition in the the Rajya Sabha in 2009.