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No rule on Opposition leader

New Delhi, May 16: The Congress being the second single largest party in the country will now be the principal Opposition party and have to remain content with the leader of the Opposition tag for Sonia Gandhi or Rahul.

Contrary to the general impression that a party has to obtain a certain number of seats for claiming the leader of Opposition post, there is no such legal or technical threshold.

Legally, there is no embargo on an MP occupying the post of the leader of the Opposition as long as he or she heads a party which is numerically second largest in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha as the case may be.

The related rules are governed by the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.

The act defines the status. According to the act, “the leader of the Opposition in relation to either House of Parliament means that member of the council of states or the House of the people, as the case may be, who is, for the time being, the leader in that House of the party in Opposition to the government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised as such by the chairman of the council of states or the Speaker of the House of the people, as the case may be.”

A dispute may arise only if two Opposition parties have the same number of seats in the House. In that case, the Speaker or chairperson of the Rajya Sabha has the right to decide on according the status.

Posthumous victory

The Allagadda Assembly constituency in Kurnool has posthumously elected YSR Congress candidate B. Shobha Nagi Reddy as its MLA. Reddy had died in a road crash during the election campaign, by when it was too late to drop her name from the ballot. She was declared the winner by over16,000 votes.