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LoP not a must for functioning of Parliament: Sumitra Mahajan

India TV News Desk 27 Jun 2014, 13:33:36 PM IST
India TV News Desk
New Delhi: Modi government will be presenting its first budget on 7th July. With none of the opposition parties having managed the minimum of 55 MPs needed to stake claim for  the post of the Leader of Lok Sabha (LOP), the final decision on this issue is pending with the Lok Sabha speaker.

In an interview with an English Newspaper, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that the Parliament's functioning will not be impacted without LoP. She also recalled instances when this position had been left vacant in the past.

“In fact, the appointment of LoP is not just a matter of convention or courtesy; rather a matter of the rules of the House; which are clear that for a party to stake claim to be LoP they need to have 55 seats.” said Sumitra Mahajan

In the 16th Lok Sabha, the Congress with 44 MPs is the largest Opposition party, closely followed by J Jayalalithaa's AIADMK at 37.
While it may be imprecise to say that a Parliament can function smoothly without the Leader of Opposition, there have indeed been instances in the Indian Lok Sabha where no LoP had been elected.

There was no Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha during the Prime Ministership of Jawahar Lal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi, when the Congress enjoyed complete majority in the Lok Sabha, and the Opposition space had shrunk considerably.

When Rajiv Gandhi was elected as the Prime Minister in 1984, the Congress bagged 404 seats in a House of 543. The CPM, with 22 seats, had emerged as the largest opposition party, while the BJP could win just two seats.
In the 15th Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj of the BJP was Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.