With Congress raising the pitch on the issue of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Monday said she was ready to discuss the issue with the party if approached.
"If somebody comes to me and talks to me, be it Congress or any other party, I will definitely talk to them," Mahajan told reporters.
This comes after Congress president Sonia Gandhi asserted that her party was entitled to the post.
"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 LoP issue that has seen the party at loggerheads with BJP and Narendra Modi government.
Earlier, party spokesman Anand Sharma had said that Congress would exercise all options to ensure a "democratically correct and logical conclusion" to the issue and did not rule out the possibility of approaching courts in the matter.
"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 said when asked whether the Speaker was acting at the behest of BJP.
With the budget session beginning today, Mahajan expressed hope that everybody will cooperate and said that her first priority will be ensuring smooth running of the session.
"From today the budget session is beginning. My first priority will be to ensure that the budget session runs smoothly. We will try to bring out solutions of problems of the country both economical and others through a meaningful dialogue," she said.