New Delhi: That the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to come back to power with a mandate bigger than its 2014 tally is by now a fact well digested. But even as the BJP marches to reclaim the Lok Sabha with over 300 seats, the Congress party is likely to face a more humiliating re-entry into the Lower House of the Parliament.
With counting still underway, Congress has so far managed to win 50 seats and is leading on two seats. With a possible closure at a seat tally of 52, it is unlikely that the Congress will have any scope of claiming the post of Leader of Opposition (LOP).
According to Parliament rules, the biggest Opposition party in the House has to have 10 per cent — 55 seats — of the total strength of the House to claim the post of the Leader of Opposition. With the Congress party just managing to get 52 seats in the election results declared on Thursday, it is unlikely to be eligible to claim the post of the LOP.
In 2014, the Congress party faced a similar challenge when it managed to win just 44 seats in the general elections. It was only after Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge submitted a memorandum signed by 60 UPA MPs that he was nominated Leader of Opposition in the 16th Lok Sabha. Congress had also banked upon the argument that the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 mandated that the leader of the single largest opposition party should be given the LOP post.
What is likely to make the run for the post of the Leader of Opposition (LOP) more dramatic is Kharge’s defeat from Gulbarga in Karnataka.