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Congress declares Rahul Gandhi as Leader of Opposition 

Lok Sabha did not have Leader of Opposition in the last 10 years…reports Asian Lite News

Congress on Tuesday declared that Rahul Gandhi, party’s MP from Raebareli will be Leader of the Opposition in the 18th Lok Sabha, ending the 10-year spell of no LoP in the Lower House since 2014.

“Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has been appointed as the LoP in the Lok Sabha..” Venugopal said while addressing the media here in the national capital.

Notably, Lok Sabha did not have Leader of Opposition in the last 10 years 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.

After the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls, the Congress emerged as the second-largest party in the election and improved its tally to 100, from 52 in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. The total tally of the INDIA bloc stood at 234. The announcement of Rahul Gandhi as LoP comes a day before the election for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker.

Rahul Gandhi won from both Raebareli and Wayanad Lok Sabha constituencies in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. While Rahul Gandhi won with a margin of 364422 votes from Wayanad defeating Communist Party of India’s Annie Raja, in Raebareli, he won with a margin of 390030 votes from Raebareli defeating Bharatiya Janata Party’s Dinesh Pratap Singh.

However, after Rahul Gandhi announced that he would resign as an MP from Wayanad and will keep the Raebareli constituency, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced Priyanka Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad last week.

If Priyanka Gandhi wins from Wayanad, three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family will be in Parliament – Sonia Gandhi in Rajya Sabha and Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. Earlier, Gandhi took the oath as the Member of Parliament, carrying a copy of the Constitution in his hands.

The leader of the largest opposition party having not less than one-tenth seats of the total strength of the Lok Sabha is recognised as the leader of the Opposition. He will be a member of crucial committees such as Public Accounts (Chairman), Public Undertakings, Estimates and several Joint Parliamentary Committees.

He is entitled to be a member of various selection committees responsible for appointing heads of statutory bodies like the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Information Commission, the CBI, the NHRC, and the Lokpal.

He provides constructive criticism of the government policies and to provide an alternative government. The leader of Opposition in both the Houses were accorded statutory recognition under the Salaries and Allowances of Leader of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 and are entitled to the salary, allowances and other facilities equivalent to that of a cabinet minister. The office of the leader of the opposition is not mentioned in the Constitution.

Kharge lauds move

Meanwhile, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday praised Gandhi’s appointment as Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and said that the House of the People shall truly reflect the aspirations of the last person standing, with Rahul Gandhi becoming their voice.

“In the 18th Lok Sabha, the House of the People shall truly reflect the aspirations of the last person standing, with Rahul Gandhi becoming their voice,” Kharge posted on X.

He further expressed his confidence in Rahul Gandhi and said that he would raise the voice of the people. “As Congress President, I am confident that a leader who has traversed the length and breadth of the country from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, and from Manipur to Maharashtra shall raise the voice of the people — especially the marginalised and the poor,” he added. The Congress chief reiterated the party’s commitment to “protect Democracy and the Constitution, by upholding its eternal principles of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”

Meeting at Kharge’s residence

The opposition INDIA bloc held a meeting of its floor leaders at the residence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi on Tuesday, the second day of the inaugural session of the 18th Lok Sabha, to strategize on the election of the Speaker.

Congress MPs Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal, president of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, Hanuman Beniwal and other leaders of the INDIA bloc were present in the meeting.

The meeting comes ahead of the election to the post of Speaker for which both the ruling NDA and the opposition INDIA bloc have fielded their respective candidates.

Efforts by the BJP’s top leadership to reach a consensus on the Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha came to naught when the INDIA bloc decided to nominate 8-time MP K Suresh for the post.

His nomination followed the filing of nomination by BJP’s Kota MP Om Birla for the same position. Birla previously served as the Speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha.

Traditionally, the Lok Sabha Speaker and Deputy Speaker have been elected by consensus between the ruling party and the opposition.

The election for the post of Speaker has taken place at least twice in India’s parliamentary history. The first instance was in 1952 when Congress’ GV Malvankar contested against CPI’s candidate Shankar Shantaram More. The second instance was in 1976 when Congress’ BR Bhagat contested against Jagannathrao Joshi from Jan Sangh and was supported by Congress O.

Rahul Gandhi said that his party had informed Rajnath Singh that the Opposition is prepared to support NDA’s Speaker candidate, on the condition that the Deputy Speaker position is given to the opposition.

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