Congress stakes claim for Leader of Opposition post

New Delhi, Jul 9: The Congress on Wednesday formally staked claim to the post of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha. The party’s leader in the house Mallikarjun Kharge met Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and submitted a memorandum on the issue containing the signatures of 60 Lok Sabha members of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

The Congress is keen on the post of Leader of Opposition, saying it was the second largest party in the lower house and was the main party in the UPA. The Congress has 44 members in the Lok Sabha. However, its strength is less than 10 percent of the total strength of the house, which stands at 545.

“We have submitted a memorandum containing the signatures of 60 UPA MPs. It is for her (Mahajan) to take a view on the matter,” Kharge told reporters after the meeting. Deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh, along with party chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia accompanied Kharge to the meeting.

“Representative of the party which has the largest number in the opposition should be recognised as Leader of Opposition,” Kharge said. Kharge’s meeting with the speaker came a day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with party parliamentarians on the issue. Gandhi on Tuesday met President Pranab Mukherjee over the same issue.