In remarks that could fuel a fresh controversy, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath Sunday said that Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision on the issue of Leader of Opposition in Lower House could be “flavoured” by BJP and Narendra Modi.
Insisting that there is no rule, which says that a party cannot get LoP status unless it has 10 per cent of the total strength of the 543-member Lok Sabha, the former Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that while a Speaker is generally neutral when it comes to dealing with Parliamentary processes, it may be different in a contentious situation.
“We know the Speaker is from the BJP… Speaker is appointed by a political party… when it is a contentious situation… It (the decision on LoP) will be flavoured by the BJP and Modi,” Nath told Karan Thapar on ‘Nothing But the Truth’ programme on Headlines Today.
He was replying to a question on why he was raising fingers on the intention of the government in this matter when the decision on LoP will be taken by the Speaker.
While hastening to add that what he says “does not mean that she is acting on the behest of somebody”, Nath insisted, “But there is always a flavour”.
He also said that if the Speaker rules against Congress on the LoP issue, it would be right and proper for the Congress to go to the court.
“Certainly, we must. It should be one of the options,” he said.
At the same time he said that Congress won’t retaliate or be obstructive in Parliament simply because the LoP status is denied to it as party President Sonia Gandhi won’t like the party to be retaliatory in this matter.
Nath also vehemently countered the contention that Rahul Gandhi is reluctant to take responsibility and cited instances from last 30 years when the Leader of House of a party and its President were two different persons.
Responding to questions about party veteran A K Antony’s remarks that the proximity of Congress to minority communities had led people to doubt its secularism, Nath said that if there is any such perception, “Congress must correct it.”
“If Congress’ version of secularism is perceived continued…