JD(U) demanded Leader of Opposition designation for Congress in the LS to ensure “checks and balances”, especially in matters of key appointments like CAG, CBI director, CVC and Lokpal even as the Treasury Benches kept suspense over the issue.
Party heavyweight and former chief minister Nitish Kumar is also planning to put pressure on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to grant special status for Bihar, besides playing up improvement in electricity supply in Bihar as part of JD(U)’s big development agenda. Nitish is likely to chalk out the party strategy on Saturday.
JD(U) national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP K C Tyagi said, “Congress should be given the Leader of Opposition post to ensure the NDA government does not become authoritarian in matters of some appointments. We must not allow a situation when there is no leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.”
Its support to the largest opposition party in the House comes amid a widespread speculation that the ruling BJP may not give this post to Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge. To claim the Leader of Opposition status, the biggest opposition party should have secured at least 10 per cent of seats (55 seats) in the Lok Sabha. In the newly-elected Lok Sabha, Congress is the largest opposition party but it has only 44 seats.
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Tyagi said Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in 2010 had given RJD Leader of Opposition status even though it had only 23 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly. “The Speaker can use her discretion. It is not about siding with Congress and making any formation with Congress, but to ensure a healthy mechanism of checks and balances.”
Meanwhile, Nitish, lying low since his resignation as Bihar CM and subsequent rebellion in the party, would speak to the media on Saturday. Sources said the party would stick to its development agenda and not allow BJP to take away with any credit on this front. Bihar will be going to polls next year.
“We have made rapid improvement in power sector despite some transmission and distribution of power hiccups in recent past. We will be able to ensure 4,000 MW power by next year,” said a senior JD (U) leader close to Nitish.