For the first time, Bihar may not get a recognised opposition party or a leader of the opposition as no single opposition party has won 10% of the seats in the state assembly.
Rabri Devi, leader of the opposition in the previous assembly, who lost both the seats she contested, will have to vacate the official bungalow she now shares with husband and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
But as former chief ministers of Bihar, she and Prasad are entitled to a bungalow each. In Bihar, CMs who have ruled for five years or more are allotted official bungalows.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether they would opt for one bungalow or two.
Lalu has not exercised his right since giving up the CM’s chair in 1997, preferring, instead to live first in his wife’s chief ministerial quarters and, after her defeat in 2005, in the leader of opposition’s bungalow.
Talking to the media on Friday, governor Debanand Konwar said the rules governing the Bihar assembly were clear that only a single opposition party with a minimum of 10% seats in the house could lay claim to the position of leader of the opposition.
RJD (22 seats) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP (three seats), which fought the polls as an alliance, have a combined strength of 25 seats, the minimum requirement to claim the official opposition space in the 243-member Bihar assembly. But since the rules say “party” and not “alliance”, the issue remains uncertain. The speaker of the new assembly will have to take a call.
“Under the Constitution, the RJD does not qualify for the status of Opposition. Since such a situation has emerged for the first time in Bihar, the issue has to be settled as per the legislative traditions in other states and Parliament,” said Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a senior RJD leader and former chairman of the Bihar Legislative Council.