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Congress will not stake claim to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha

To stake claim for the Leader of Opposition, a party needs to win at least 1/10th of the total seats in the Lok Sabha.

Congress will not stake claim to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha

NEW DELHI: Congress will not stake a claim to the Leader of Opposition till the party secures the minimum seat criterion to form the official opposition.

“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 Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press brief at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday.

“It's a fact that, it's 10% of the strength of House. Since we're two 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,” he added.

He was responding to a question on the Leader of Opposition position in the Lok Sabha. In 2014 too, Congress fell short of the magic numbers after winning just 44 seats.

To stake claim for the Leader of Opposition, a party needs to win at least 1/10th of the total seats in the Lok Sabha. The strength of the 17th Lok Sabha is 543 seats apart from two nominated members. Under the current circumstances, the official opposition needs to have a minimum of 54 lawmakers to claim the Leader of Opposition post. Congress has 52 members in Lok Sabha.

The first Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting of the newly-elected party MPs was held on Saturday. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was once again elected as the CPP leader.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi was also back on the podium trying to inspire his party to be formidable opposition in the Lok Sabha. “I realized quickly that 40 were enough to take on BJP. This time we are 52 MPs, will fight BJP every single day,” he said.

Later, taking to Twitter he wrote: “The Congress Party may have just 52 Lok Sabha members, but we will work together like a pride of brave hearted lions to protect our Constitution & Institutions & to fearlessly do our duty as the leading Opposition party. The BJP will have no walkover in Parliament.”