Leader of Opposition should be as per norms: Prasad

New Delhi : The decision on the issue of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha should be based on set rules and norms, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Tuesday.

He, however, said this was his view, and a final decision will be taken by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

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“The rule that a party needs 10 percent member strength to be the main opposition party stands since the time of (first Lok Sabha speaker) G.V. Mavalankar.

“The same rule has been there all these years. If it has to be changed, there has to be a reason for it,” Prasad said interacting with women journalists at the Indian Women Press Corps.

“If the rule can be changed for 44 members, it can be changed for 30 members, or 20 members as well,” he said.

The Congress has 44 members in the Lok Sabha, second to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 280 members.

However, the Congress falls short of the 10-percent mark – or 55 members in the 545-member house – which the ruling BJP has cited as mandatory as per rules for getting the Leader of Opposition status.

Prasad, however, said the final decision will be taken only by the speaker.

“The decision will be taken only by the speaker. The decision taken by the Lok Sabha speaker and the Rajya Sabha chairman are quoted for future reference,” he said.

Asked about the Congress statement that the party may go to court if not given the Leader of Opposition post, the minister said: “Anyone can go to court in India.”

Prasad took a jibe at the Congress and said: “The energy and hard work they are focusing on getting the Leader of Opposition post, if they would have focused it on how they got reduced to 44, it would have helped them more.”

Congress president Sonia Gandhi Monday said the party was entitled to the post as it was the second largest party in the lower house.