Observing that the issue of giving Leader of Opposition (LoP) status is before the Lok Sabha Speaker, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said everyone must abide by the presiding officer's decision.
"There was no Opposition Leader during Nehruji's regime. There was no Opposition Leader during Indira Gandhi's era. Opposition Leader was not there in Rajiv Gandhi's rule," Naidu said. "But Opposition Leader status should be given during BJP's rule. They (Congress leaders) say how it cannot be given and that Constitution does not agree. They say situation was different then and now," the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister said, addressing an event held at BJP office here on the occasion of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mukherjee's birth anniversary. "They say you be liberal (in giving LoP status). It is people's verdict and matter related to Constitution. Speaker's decision should be adhered to and let's see how the Speaker decides. There are some conventions, rules and regulations, precedents and directions of the Speaker. They are all there before us. Everybody has to go by that," he said.
Asked about Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed's reported comments that getting the LoP position is their right and that Parliament would not run if the position is not given to their party, Naidu alleged that the Congress is not able to accept the defeat. "Alright. Let's see. We know how to run (the House) if it is not able to run. There is no need for a public debate on this. They are not able to accept the defeat. They are not able to take the defeat even after such a terrible defeat. We leave it to their wisdom," he said. "People have decided whatever they had to decide. We hope that Congress and all of us together run the Parliament and do good for people and make efforts for country's development," the senior BJP leader said.
Earlier, in his speech at the party meeting, Naidu referred to the comments of some Congress leaders that they would go to court if the LoP position is denied to the party and said the matter is to be decided in the people's court. "They have got every right to go to court. You can go to court for not getting Prime Minister's post also. Anybody can go to court in this country for any thing. Many people go to courts. They have got every right to go. Constitution permits it. Let them go," he said. "But people's court has decided. People have given a mandate. We are in democracy. These things cannot be decided by judiciary. They have to be decided by people," he said.
Talking about the reported threat of a Congress leader that they would boycott Speaker, if the Speaker's decision went against them, Naidu alleged that it showed their impatience. "The Budget session is starting tomorrow. Speaker was elected just the other day. How can they be so impatient. They had been in power for so long. The message of mandate of the people has to be understood. They have not learnt from the ignominious rout in the election. This is my observation. I don't want to undermine the opposition. We want the opposition and government to work together," he said.
Asserting that the government is ready for debate on any issue, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister appealed to the opposition parties not to disrupt proceedings of the House. "There is nothing to hide. I said, debate, discuss, decide. Do not disrupt. That's my request to the opposition parties. I hope they will understand that," he said.
On the occasion, Naidu hailed the leadership of Syama Prasad Mukherjee and talked about different episodes of the life of the departed leader.