Amid the possibility of a decision being taken on the issue of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha this week ahead of the Budget Session, Congress on Sunday said it has a “natural claim” to the post and any attempt to scuttle it can only be termed as “autocratic”.
“In a Constitutional democracy, opposition including all important position of Leader of Opposition is a principal prerequisite for Constitutionally mandated functioning of the Parliament, including appointment to various public offices.
“Congress has a natural claim to the position of Leader of Opposition as the largest political party and pre-poll alliance. Any decision or attempt to scuttle this all prevailing ingredient of constitutional functioning can only be autocratic and goes against the primary tenets of India’s democracy,” party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said.
Normally, the leader of the largest party after the ruling party or coalition is recognised as the Leader of Opposition. However for that, the second largest party should have secured at least 10 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha, meaning 55 seats.
In the newly-elected Lok Sabha, no party has got 55 seats and the closest to the mark is Congress with 44 seats.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who has to take a decision on the issue, has said that she will do so after studying the rules, regulations and the matter of precedence in this regard.
Mahajan had said she would consult constitutional authorities, legal experts and “experienced persons” before taking a decision on the issue ahead of the budget session.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had said that the matter would have been automatically settled had an opposition party got the requisite numbers.
Party gives them 48 hours to respond.