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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Sonia, Rahul meet partymen over Oppn leader row

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 06, 2014
First Published: 00:09 IST(6/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:58 IST(6/7/2014)

The beleaguered Congress swung into action to stake its claim on the coveted Leader of Opposition’s (LoP) seat in the Lok Sabha.

Party president Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with senior leaders while Rahul Gandhi, the vice-president, who returned to India after a foreign trip, held parleys with party general secretaries at his residence.

“We are ready to complete all necessary formalities,” said leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad at the party president’s meeting. “We are not just asking for the post for a representative of the party, but it is a constitutional requirement in the selection process of several high offices.”

The Congress is set to give a memorandum to the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan which legally asserts the party’s rights.

A former solicitor general who is advising them on this issue, has also suggested knocking on the door of the Supreme Court for remedy.

Read: Congress may raise pitch for leader of Opposition status

“We are looking at different options. The party brass will take the final call,” said a senior Congress leader.

Mahajan indicated on Saturday that she is yet to decide if the Congress would get the LoP status in the House. “The meeting discussed the business of the House,” she said after the Saturday’s all-party meeting.

Even as the Speaker seems to be in no hurry, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala maintained that the powers of the Speaker are “neither arbitrary, nor unbridled or unilateral.”

While one section of the BJP is adamant not to concede the LoP to the Congress, there are speculations that the party may offer more front row seats in the House to the Congress to reach a compromise.

The Opposition is keen to raise the issue of the rise in prices of onions and potatoes and the recent rail fare hike in the ensuing budget session.
The budget session has been slotted with 168 hours for work.


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