New Delhi: The Congress is unlikely to get a Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, sources indicated on Wednesday. Sources have also told CNN-IBN that the House rules are clear that a party needs 10 per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha to become Leader of Opposition, which amounts to 55.
The Congress is the second largest party, but it managed only 44 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. Sources further say that the Congress has argued that it should be seen as the UPA, which has the required numbers.
The Congress had on Tuesday put the ball in the Speaker's court over the issue of Leader of Opposition brushing aside jibes from the BJP that it has not got the numbers and it has just turned into a 'regional party'. "There is no need to speculate on the issue. A decision will be taken. The decision has to be taken in writing by the Speaker," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said in reply to a volley of questions on the issue.
The Speaker was also asked what the party would do if it failed to get the Leader of the Opposition status in the Lower House. Singhvi's remarks came after BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy taking a jibe at the Congress in the Lok Sabha.
"We never imagined that we will have to welcome a national party as a regional party in this House. ...What prompted this to happen? Why this mandate? ...People have punished you for your misrule for 65 years," Rudy had said.
Singh said he was not reacting to this statement. "The process (LOP issue) is between the Congress Party and the Speaker. When the decision is taken in whatever manner you will be told," he said steering clear of questions whether it could be denied the status in the Lok Sabha.
Two days back, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had taunted the Congress saying that people have not chosen any party for the position of leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
The Congress is making a pitch for the post and has been seeking a "quick and proper" decision insisting that the important post should not be denied to the largest party in the opposition. A senior party leader, who declined to be identified, said that an opposition party needed to be given the Leader of the Opposition status to operationalise the enactments on the appointments of Central Vigilance Commissioner, head of the National Human Rights Commission and the Lokpal.
He stressed that to create real democracy, there was no alternative but to give the leader of the Opposition status to the Congress. His refrain was that denial of such a status would become a more political than legal issue.
(With additional information from PTI)