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Mallikarjun Kharge to meet Lok Sabha Speaker tomorrow on Leader of Opposition issue

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 - 9:07pm IST | Agency: PTI

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge is expected to meet Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tomorrow as the party raised the pitch for getting the Leader of Opposition status in the House.

Congress has sought a meeting with the Speaker at a time when the government is indicating that it was not averse to having a recognized LoP in the Lower House like in the Rajya Sabha.

When contacted, Kharge said the party has sought an appointment with the Speaker but declined to divulge details.

The developments came after Congress President Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with party MPs after it has readied a letter to be sent to the Speaker with signature of all UPA MPs in support of an LoP for Congress.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government would be happy to have a recognised LoP in the House like in the Rajya Sabha.

He also said that he regretted that even without formally staking claim, some Congress leaders were talking of going to courts on the issue.

Naidu had sometime back remained ambivalent on questions whether the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad could be coopted on decisions regarding key appointments like CVC and Lokpal.

Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad struck a different note on the issue of LoP in Lok Sabha saying that for the last several years, the "well-settled" principle is that the party having the requisite numbers get the LoP status.

Though he caveated his response by saying that these are his personal views and a call has to be taken by the Speaker on the issue, Prasad appeared unfazed over Congress threat to go to the court on the issue. "Anybody is free to go to the court."

Congress had said yesterday that the letter to be sent to the Speaker is ready and it will go to her after signatures of all UPA MPs.

After the meeting Sonia Gandhi had with Lok Sabha MPs of the party including Rahul Gandhi, party sources said there would be efforts for greater cordination with other parties.

"We are the single largest party. We have got a pre-poll alliance. Hence, we are entitled to the Leader of the Opposition's post," Gandhi, who is also CPP Chairperson, had said yesterday.

Congress has 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

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