The government will go the “extra mile” to accomodate the opposition, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said onWednesday , but steered clear of questions on the issue of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
“We have not discussed the issue. I have no comments to offer,” he told reporters after taking charge of the ministry at Parliament House when asked whether Congress, which lacks the requisite numbers in the Lok Sabha, will get the post of the Leader of the Opposition.
Congress has secured just 44 seats in the Lok Sabha, 11 less than one tenth of the strength of the 543-member House required to get the post. The Speaker has the discretion to decide on the issue.
Naidu, flanked by Ministers of State for Parliamentary Affairs Santosh Gangwar and Prakash Javadekar, said that he was committed to the “3-D” formula for smooth running of Parliament–debate, discuss and decide.
“Not 4 D,” he remarked in an obvious reference to “disruption” which was the order of the day in the last Lok Sabha in which BJP was in the opposition and which saw even a full session being a virtual wash out on the issue of JPC on the 2G spectrum scam.
“I am not blaming anybody. People also want to have a proper debate in both Houses….Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committee for debate on any issue of public importance….We are ready to go the extra mile to accomodate the opposition as far as debate and discussion is concerned,” he said.
Former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, who is the seniormost member of the Lok Sabha, will be the Protem Speaker, Naidu said.
He said that he has conveyed the recommendation of the government to make Nath as Protem Speaker to President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday.