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Rahul Gandhi appointed as Leader of Opposition, his first Constitutional responsibility
Photo courtesy: Facebook/Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi appointed as Leader of Opposition, his first Constitutional responsibility

| @indiablooms | 25 Jun 2024, 11:27 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Taking the fight to the ruling BJP-led NDA, Rahul Gandhi Tuesday accepted a decision by the Congress Working Committee and will take up the role of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

The announcement comes hours before the first big battle of the 18th Lok Sabha, between a resurgent opposition and a diminished ruling coalition, over the post of Speaker.

Denied an assurance that an opposition member would be given the post of Deputy Speaker, as is the tradition, the Congress and the INDIA bloc decided to force an election for the post of Speaker at the last minute by putting up K Suresh as its candidate against the BJP's pick, Om Birla, who was the Speaker in the last Lok Sabha.

The election of the Speaker, a first in decades, will take place at 11 am. To date, a Speaker has been chosen by consensus.

However, the Opposition, energised by their numbers in the Lok Sabha, has refused to accept the government's brush-off on the issue of the Pro Tem Speaker and the Deputy Speaker's post.

The Opposition initially expected Suresh to be the Pro Tem Speaker, a post that goes to the senior most member of the House. However, the government made it clear that they are not considering a Deputy Speaker post, or the Opposition's claim to it, for now.

With 10 minutes to go before today's deadline, the Congress filed papers fielding Suresh against the BJP's pick- Rajasthan MP Om Birla, who was the Speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha as well.

The numbers, as they stand now, do not favour the Opposition. The Speaker is elected by a simple majority of MPs present and voting.

Congress's Rahul Gandhi has alleged that though Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks of constructive support from the Opposition, he "does not want any constructive cooperation".

He cited an example stating that Union minister Rajnath Singh, shouldered the responsibility to build consensus on the Speaker post, did not call Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, which is "an insult to our leader".

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