But who is the Leader of the Opposition? Why wasn’t there any Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha since 2014? Why is the Congress likely to get the post? The lies in numbers.

Who is the Leader of Opposition?

The Leader of the Opposition is the Leader of the largest opposition party. The post was not recognised till 1969 when Ram Subhag Singh became the first recognised LoP of the Lok Sabha.

The post received statutory recognition through the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.

The Act defines the term ‘ Leader of the Opposition’ as that member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha who, for the time being, is the Leader of that House of the party in Opposition to the government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised, as such, by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the speaker of the Lok Sabha.

Who gets the Leader of Opposition post in Lok Sabha?

Although several political parties may exist in the Opposition, the post of Leader of the Opposition is said to be taken up by the party that secures one-tenth of the total strength of the Lok Sabha. 

As per this rule, since the Lok Sabha has 543 members, a political party will need 55 members to appoint a Leader of the Opposition.

The Institute of Secretariat Training and Management mentioned in one of its booklet that the recognition of the Leader of Opposition is given by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha – “provided the largest party in opposition have minimum 55 MP in the House”

This institute is managed by the Department of Personnel and Training, under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India.

However, no such 10 percent rule for the appointment of the Leader of Opposition is mentioned in the Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act.

Why didn’t Lok Sabha have Leader of Opposition in the last 10 years?

Simply because no political party, other than the ruling party, was able to secure the minimum Lok Sabha seats required to nominate a Leader of the Opposition.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the Congress emerged as the second-largest party with 52 seats. This was three short of the requisite numbers. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress, again the second largest party, won 44 Lok Sabha seats — way below the mark.

Why Congress will get Leader of Opposition post this time?

This time, the Congress emerged as the single larges party in the INDIA bloc (Opposition) by winning 99 Lok Sabha seats — comfortably crossing the 55-member mark needed for a political party to appoint a Leader of the Opposition.

NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar said on Thursday that the Congress will decide on the appointment on the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha as it has maximum seats among the INDIA bloc parties in the Lower House of Parliament. “After the Congress decides, it will need the consent of our (INDIA) bloc,” he was quoted by PTI as sayin.

Who could be the Leader of Opposition in 18th Lok Sabha?

Speculations are rife that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi may take up the key post in the 18th Lok Sabha.

The Congress Working Committee passed a resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to accept the role as Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha. Rahul Gandhi has asked for time to convey his decision, news agency PTI reported.

Besides Rahul Gandhi, other names doing the rounds for the LoP post are that of Manish Tewari, Kumari Selja and Gaurav Gogoi.

How important is the Leader of the Opposition?

According to a booklet on “The Indian Parliament”, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha is said to be the “shadow Prime Minister with a shadow Cabinet”.

The Leader of the Opposition will take over the administration if the ruling government resigns or is defeated on the floor of the House.

“As the parliamentary system is based on mutual forbearance, the Leader of the Opposition lets the Prime Minister govern and is, in turn, permitted to oppose. His/her proactive role in facilitating smooth functioning of the business of the House is as important as that of the Government,” the booklet revealed.

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Published: 22 Jun 2024, 06:10 AM IST