`Pampering` BJP`s ego won`t do justice, says Sachin Pilot on Leader of Opposition row

Underlining that every robust Parliament has a Leader of the Opposition, Congress on Sunday said "pampering the ego of BJP" by not having one in Lok Sabha will not do justice to the world`s largest democracy and semblance of balance in the House.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 06, 2014, 19:40 PM IST

New Delhi: Underlining that every robust Parliament has a Leader of the Opposition, Congress on Sunday said "pampering the ego of BJP" by not having one in Lok Sabha will not do justice to the world`s largest democracy and semblance of balance in the House.
Congress leader and former Union Minister Sachin Pilot said not allowing a Leader of the Opposition means the government is taking away that semblance of Parliament being a truly democratic institution.

"There is no law but just a Speaker`s ruling and that can be done. It also depends whether you want to have a real Opposition or not. Forget about the perks and emoluments that you get as Leader of the Opposition, that can be taken away... but there must be a semblance of balance in Parliament," he said.

Underlining that the Narendra Modi government has a clear majority and nobody can change the numbers, he told in an interview that the Centre can pass laws that they want but there must be an equitable distribution of voice in Parliament.

Pilot, who is also Rajasthan PCC chief, said, "I think there has to be a recognition of the fact that you need to have a Parliament, a Leader of the Opposition and you can`t hide the technicality of the ruling of the Speaker... Ultimately the government will say it is Speaker`s choice but we all know that the Speaker has been decided by BJP. So time will tell...But the signals we are getting from the government are that they are not in favour," he said.

He said every "robust Parliament" has a Leader of the Opposition and "I think we won`t do justice by just pampering the ego of BJP..."

Pilot said that having a Leader of the Opposition is good for the country, good for Parliament "but if it (not having Leader of the Opposition) gives BJP a misplaced sense of satisfaction then that is BJP`s choice."

He underlined that having a Leader of the Opposition will not change the arithmetic and one can still pass the law with majority. "But to have Leader of the Opposition will give you that sense of balance in Parliament," he said.

Told about BJP`s stand that there was no Leader of the Opposition during the regime of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, he said, "This is 2014, different environment, different electorate. During Nehru`s government in 1952, there were people drawn from even the Left.

"You compare this situation to the 80s when the Congress had more than 400 MPs but today there are 40 parties in Parliament".

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had yesterday steered clear of the issue despite Congress pitching for it.
Mahajan had earlier said that she will take a decision on the issue before the budget session, which commences tomorrow, after consulting constitutional experts and "experienced" persons.

While Congress secured 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, government managers have said it was less than the requisite strength of 10 per cent of the House`s total strength to make the party eligible to get the LoP post.