Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) leader Saugata Roy on Monday maintained that the issue of appointing a Leader of the Opposition (LoP) was an open one that needed to be sorted between the Congress and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
"It is an open issue, a matter that has to be settled between the Speaker and the Congress Party. The Speaker has to take a call whether she goes by the old speakers' direction on Rule 121, or she goes by the general view. There is nothing about the Leader of the Opposition in the rules and procedure of parliament," Roy told ANI. "They are within their right to challenge in court or outside. We are a big parliamentary group consisting of 34 members. So, our view will be contrary to that of the government," he added.
The tussle over getting the post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) between the Congress and the Government has been going on for a while with the Congress pushing its case for the post on grounds that it has the most seats (44) in the opposition.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath has been quoted by a television channel, as saying that if Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rules against Congress on the Leader of Opposition issue, it would be right and proper for the Congress to go to the court. He insisted that there is no rule, which says that a party cannot get Leader of Opposition status unless it has 10 per cent of the total strength of the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Nath contended that Mahajan's decision on the issue could be favoured by the BJP and Narendra Modi. He was apparently responding to Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu' sattement in Hyderabad on Sunday that the issue of giving Leader of Opposition (LoP) status is before the Lok Sabha Speaker, and everyone must abide by the presiding officer's decision.
Currently the leader of the opposition is equivalent to the rank of a cabinet minister. The leader of opposition also has an important role to play in several key government appointments, such as Chief Vigilance Commissioner etc.