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Ball in Speaker's court on LOP in LS: Congress

PTI 10 Jun 2014, 21:55:27 IST
New Delhi: Congress today put the ball in the Speaker's court over the issue of Leader of the Opposition (LOP) in the Lok Sabha brushing aside jibes from the BJP that it has not got the numbers and it has just turned into a ‘regional party'.

“There is no need to speculate on the issue. A decision will be taken. The decision has to be taken in writing by the Speaker”, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in reply to a volley of questions on the issue.

The Speaker was also asked what the party would do if it failed to get the LOP status in the Lower House. Singhvi's remarks came close on the heels of BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy taking a jibe at the Congress in the Lok Sabha.

“We never imagined that we will have to welcome a national party as a regional party in this House. ... What prompted this to happen? Why this mandate? ... People have punished you for your misrule for 65 years,” Rudy had said.

Singh said he was not reacting to this statement.

“The process(LOP issue) is between the Congress Party and the Speaker. When the decision is taken in whatever manner you will be told”, he said steering clear of questions whether it could be denied the status in the Lok Sabha.

Two days back, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had taunted the Congress saying that people have not chosen any party for the position of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

Congress is making a pitch for the post and has been seeking a “quick and proper” decision insisting that the important post should not be denied to the largest party in the opposition.

A senior party leader, who declined to be identified, said that an opposition party needed to be given the LOP status to operationalise the enactments on the appointments of Central Vigilance Commissioner, head of the National Human Rights Commission and the Lok Pal.

He stressed that to create real democracy, there was no alternative but to give the LOP status to Congress. His refrain was that denial of such a status would become a more political than legal issue.