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Strong oppn more important than LoP: LS Speaker

Amid trading of barbs between main opposition Congress and the government over the post of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahahan on Sunday said a strong opposition was more important than LoP.

On ruling through ordinances, she said it would be better if they were lesser in number.
"What is the meaning of Leader of the Opposition. Instead of LoP, a strong opposition is more important. A strong opposition is one which raises its issues effectively. It is not necessary that a strong opposition has a leader," she said.

Mahajan was addressing mediapersons at the end of the 77th Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies here.

The Speaker's comments came against the backdrop of Congress having only 44 members in the Lok Sabha.

Though it is the second largest party after BJP (282 members), it still falls short of the 55 members ? 10 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha ? needed for staking claim to the post.

Mahajan has earlier cited precedents of 1980 and 1984, when there was no recognised Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha. The Congress happened to be in power then.

At Sunday's media briefing, she said LoP was necessary, but nothing could be done if it is not as per rules.

"There are certain rules for the appointment of LoP. What can be done if it is not as per the rules," Mahajan asked. On being asked about ‘ordinance route’ being adopted by the government, she said it would be better if they were lesser in number, but added the expectation of the electorate was very high and some quick decisions were to be made.

“An ordinance is brought if a bill cannot be passed due to some reasons though it has to be tabled in the House to make it a law,” she said.

On a suggestion for automatic expulsion of members who disrupt the House, Mahajan said though some presiding officers said that action should be taken, there was no clear view. After Mahajan’s loud thinking on the issue of lawmakers storming the Well, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Sunday said the tendency was not healthy for democracy.

“Today I feel the biggest problem in proceeding of a House is storming into the Well. Today, not only opposition, but even ruling party members storm the Well. This is not good for a healthy democracy,” Naik said in his valedictory speech. 

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