On Thursday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, staking claim for the post of the leader of the Opposition.
"In a similar situation in Bihar, the then Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of our party had given the status of Leader of Opposition to Adbul Bari Siddiqui of Rashtriya Janata Dal though his party did not have the numbers to claim it," party general secretary K C Tyagi said.
The JD(U), which has only two members in the Lok Sabha, is of the view that the main opposition party needed to be given the Leader of Opposition status to be on the panel to consider key appointments like Central Vigilance Commissioner, head of the National Human Rights Commission and the Lokpal.
"At the Centre, the requirement is all the more. There are legal and constitutional requirements, which have to be fulfilled. That is why we are demanding that a leader of Congress should be given the Leader of Opposition status in Lok Sabha," Tyagi said.
Amid speculation that a grouping of regional parties like AIADMK, BJD and Trinamool Congress could come forward to claim the post in Lok Sabha, a JD(U) functionary speaking on condition of anonymity said that since the Lok Sabha will primarily be dealing with national issues, it makes more sense that the post should go to a national party.
Normally, the leader of the largest party after the ruling party or coalition is recognised as the Leader of Opposition. However for that, the second largest party should have secured at least 10 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha, meaning 55 seats.
In the newly-elected Lok Sabha, no party has got 55 seats and the closest to the mark is Congress with 44 seats.