Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has said she will take a decision on the issue of Leader of Opposition within the next four days after going through the rules and Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi’s letter on the matter.
Mahajan said the Speaker did not enjoy any personal discretion while choosing a member as LoP and was only meant to follow rules and precedents to arrive at a decision.
"I will see all the rules and also the letter of the attorney general. I have to see what's there and what is not. Speaker cannot do anything...I have to go by the rules. Within one to four days, I'm expecting a decision on this," she said.
Pointing out instances when there had been no LoPs, she said, "Many a times, there was no Leader of Opposition. First the LoP was only in 1969 as before that no one had 1/10th (seats) in Lok Sabha. There was no LoP in 1980 and also in 1984.”
"Now also the numbers are not adequate for LoP...so have to see," she said.
In view of the dilemma she was facing over the issue, Mahajan had sought Rohtagi's opinion on the matter. In his letter, the AG opined that the Congress is not eligible and there is no precedent since the days of the first Lok Sabha to grant the post to a party which does not have the minimum required MPs.
The AG's opinion came as a setback to the Congress which has made a strong pitch for the Leader of Opposition post despite securing just 44 seats in the 543-member House. A party has to win 55 seats to get 10 per cent members.
Image: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan