Congress today raised the pitch on the issue of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha with Sonia Gandhi asserting the party was "entitled" to it and UPA MPs deciding to write to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan seeking an immediate decision.
"We are the single-largest party. We have got a pre-poll alliance. Hence, we are entitled to the Leader of Opposition's post," Gandhi, who is also the Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson, said today in her first comments on the issue that has seen the party at loggerheads with BJP and Narendra Modi government.
Shortly after Gandhi's remarks, party spokesman Anand Sharma said Congress would exercise all options to ensure a "democratically correct and logical conclusion" to the issue and did not rule out approaching courts in the matter.
Sharma said the letter to the Speaker is ready and will be sent to her after all UPA MPs sign it.
"Government's intention is not correct. The thinking is undemocratic... Government is trying to subvert the appointments of Lokpal, CVC and to other key posts by denying the Leader of Opposition status to Congress. We will not allow that to happen. We will take all the steps in Parliament and agitate in whatever forum is available. But let the reply of the Speaker come first," he added.
Asked whether the Speaker was acting at the behest of BJP, Sharma remarked "there is no doubt about that... No ruling of the Speaker can substitute or override an Act of Parliament.
Anybody saying so lacks elementary understanding of the law and the statute."
Sharma's remarks on the Speaker's role in the matter came a day after senior party leader Kamal Nath charged Mahajan's decision regarding the Leader of the Opposition's post could be "flavoured" by BJP.