The U-shaped Delhi assembly, probably for the first time, will see both its opposition and treasury bench sides being occupied by the ruling party AAP that has 67 MLAs in the 70-member house.Sources said the party was working out the seating arrangements for the assembly session starting from Monday. The fixed seat for the leader of opposition is not likely to be allotted to the three BJP MLAs till they make a formal request for it.
The sources said the three BJP MLAs may be provided space only in the second row on the opposition benches, unless they request for the leader of Opposition’s seat.
In 2013, the BJP’s Harsh Vardhan was the leader of opposition during the 49-day stint of the AAP. Before that during the Sheila Dikshit’s government, the leader of Opposition in the house was senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra.
“The seat of the chief minister and the ministers is fixed. They sit on the first bench on the treasury side. While there is a fixed seat for the leader of opposition too, the BJP has to ask for it. We have no problem in assigning them the seat, but they had created such a fuss about not granting the leader of opposition post to the Congress in the Lok Sabha. Let’s see what they have to say now,” said a senior leader.
There are 108 seats in the assembly to accommodate 69 MLAs, reporters who take down the proceedings. There is a section for the speaker. In 1998, the Sheila Dikshit government with 52 MLAs had occupied a large part of the assembly but even then there were 15-odd BJP MLAs who used to sit on the opposition side. BJP MP Prabhat Jha, who was the incharge of the Delhi elections, had said on Wednesday that BJP has never begged for anything in politics and would never do so.
BJP legislative party leader Vijender Gupta said: “After a certain point, number doesn’t matter. Whether you get 36 seats or 67, you will form the government. Likewise whether you have 34 MLAs or 3, you will act as the Opposition. We are quite capable of raising issues and we will work as a responsible Opposition”.