New Delhi: Congress leader K Suresh on Saturday said that his party will claim for the Leader of Opposition (LoP) and Deputy Speaker posts, even as spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala maintained that they don't have required numbers to ask for the LoP position in the Lok Sabha.
A party has to win at least 54 seats or 10 per cent of the total strength of the 543-member Lok Sabha in order to have a Leader of Opposition.
"Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will consult senior leaders and nominate the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. She will take the decision. We will claim the Leader of Opposition and Deputy Speaker posts," Suresh, an MP from Mavelikara parliamentary constituency, told ANI earlier in the day.
However, Surjewala, while addressing a press conference, said that Congress will not stake a claim to the Leader of the Opposition post.
"It is a fact that it's 10 per cent of the strength of House. Since we are officially two short, we cannot have a Leader of Opposition. However, the onus also lies at doorsteps of government whether they want to designate a party formally as principal opposition or not," he said.
We will not stake a claim to the Leader of Opposition till we have the strength of 54 and since we do not have the numbers, we are not going to stake a claim," Surjewala said.
In this year's Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 303 seats, while Congress managed just 52 seats.
The 16th Lok Sabha saw no Leader of Opposition, as the grand old party won just 44 seats, the worst-ever tally for a political party.
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