The government cried foul against the opposition Congress party, for casting aspersions against the Speaker over the contentious issue of Leader of Opposition (LoP) post in the Lok Sabha.
Speaking to the mediapersons, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said: "Congress leaders' reactions are outrageous; especially, against the speaker, which is unacceptable. The speaker is for the entire house. To cast apprehension against the speaker shows desperation of the Congress. If people did not give them even 55 seats, what can we do?."
Meanwhile, when the LoP question was thrown at the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, she said: "I have got the letter on LoP issue. I will take a decision after looking into it."
The opposition Congress which has been vocal on getting the LoP post, questioned the delay in granting the Leader of Opposition's post to his party and also raised fears that the Speaker could be "influenced" by the government.
"The indications are that they do not want to give the post of Leader of the Opposition (LoP) to us. I did not say that Sumitra Mahajan is under pressure from the government. I said she is a new speaker and she will do what the government says?," Singh said.
There has been a tussle going on between the government and the Congress on the issue of Leader of the Opposition in the lower house of parliament ever since the 16th Lok Sabha came into its existence.
Though having the largest contingent among the opposition, Congress with 44 members falls short of the requirement. As per rules, any party needs to bag at least 10% of the total seats for its leader to claim the status of the leader of the opposition.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi earlier had made a strong pitch for the party being given the post of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha contending that it is the single largest party in the opposition. "We are the single largest party. We have got a pre-poll alliance. Hence, we are entitled to Leader of Opposition's post," Gandhi, who is also CPP Chairperson, said in her first comments on the issue. Read more.