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Congress will not claim Leader of Opposition, puts onus on Modi govt

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New Delhi, June 01: Congress chief spokesperson R S Surjewala said the party will not claim the Leader of Opposition since they lack the numbers.

Addressing the reporters, Surjewala said "the onus anyway lies on the "doorsteps of government- whether they want to designate a party formally as principal opposition or not".

R S Surjewala

"Since we're 2 short officially we can't have a Leader of Opposition. However onus also lies at doorsteps of government whether they want to designate a party formally as principal opposition or not. We will not stake a claim to the Leader of Opposition till we have the strength of 54 and since we don't have we're not going to stake a claim," Congress spokesperson said.

The Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) on Saturday authorised Sonia Gandhi to choose the leader of the grand old party in both the houses of the parliament. Sonia will take a call in consultation with senior party leaders and parliamentarians.

The grand old party, which was reduced to just 44 parliamentarians in 2014, didn't improve much on its tally in 2019, getting only 52 seats.

'We have 52 lawmakers, will fight BJP every day': Rahul Gandhi

As per the rules, any Opposition party must have at least 10% of the total Lok Sabha seats -- 543 -- to have an LoP. With just 52 MPs, the Congress has once again fallen short of the required number to stake claim to the post.

In 2014, the Congress had urged Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to grant senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge the status of the LoP, but she had rejected the request citing the rulebook. This election, Kharge lost his seat.

The selection process for the appointment of constitutional authorities requires the presence of the LoP. For instance, the selection panel for the Lokpal comprises the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Chief Justice of India and the LoP.

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