With no clarity on Congress getting the Leader of Opposition (LoP) status in Lok Sabha, senior leader Kamal Nath on Sunday said the party “must” go to court if Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision, which could be “flavoured” by BJP and Narendra Modi, went against it.
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 in Delhi that while a Speaker is generally neutral when it comes to dealing with Parliamentary processes, it may be different in a contentious situation.
In Hyderabad, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said everyone must abide by the presiding officer’s decision.
“There was no Opposition Leader during Nehruji’s regime. There was no Opposition Leader during Indira Gandhi’s era. Opposition Leader was not there in Rajiv Gandhi’s rule,” Naidu contended.
Picking on BJP, Nath said, “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 in an interview 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 it.
Tossing the ball in Speaker’s court, Naidu said, “It is people’s verdict and matter related to Constitution. Speaker’s decision should be adhered to and let’s see how the Speaker decides. There are some conventions, rules and regulations, precedents and directions of the Speaker. They are all there before us. Everybody has to go by that,” he said.
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 continued…
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.