Explained: Why Does Jagan Reddy's Demand For LoP Post In Andhra Pradesh Spur Controversy?

Explained: Why Does Jagan Reddy's Demand For LoP Post In Andhra Pradesh Spur Controversy?

YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote a letter to Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Speaker Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu on June 25, urging the latter to recognise him as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the House.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Monday, July 01, 2024, 01:05 PM IST
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Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy | Photo Credit: PTI

On June 25, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote a letter to the Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Ch. Ayyanna Patrudu, urging him to recognize him as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the House despite his party only holding 11 out of 175 seats.

While the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) argues that he cannot assume the position because the number of seats won by his party (YSR Congress) is less than 10 percent of the strength of the Assembly, Jagan has written a letter to the Speaker urging him to grant him LoP status. Jagan asserts that no rule disqualifies him from holding the position.

Letter To Speaker

Jagan Mohan Reddy said that there were discussions in the public domain that the YSRCP would not be entitled to have the Leader of Opposition post because it did not have 10% of the total strength of the House.

“The Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly notified under Article 208 of the Constitution do not prescribe any such mandatory percentage of seats for a leader of a party to be recognised as the Leader of Opposition. Nor has there been any convention on the insistence of the 10% strength on the floor of the House for the opposition parties,” said Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Reddy's Argument

Former Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has mentioned several instances when an opposition party was given the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) post, despite having fewer seats in the House. In 1984, TDP was granted LoP status in the Lok Sabha, even though it secured only 30 seats out of the total 543 in the House. Similarly, in 1994, the Indian National Congress (INC) was given LoP status in undivided Andhra Pradesh, despite having only 26 seats out of the total of 294. In 2015, the LoP post was given to the BJP in the Delhi Assembly, even though they secured only three seats out of the total 70. Based on these precedents, Jagan Mohan Reddy argues that LoP status should be granted to the YSRCP leader. He contends that historically, the LoP post has been given to opposition leaders even when their numerical strength was less compared to the total strength of the House.

In 1984, the TDP got the Leader of Opposition status in Lok Sabha even though it secured only 30 seats of the total 543 in the House. In 1994, the Indian National Congress (INC) was given the Leader of Opposition status in undivided Andhra Pradesh though its strength was only 26 of the total 294 seats. In 2015, the LoP post was given to the BJP in the Delhi Assembly though they secured only three of the total 70 seats, Jagan Mohan Reddy pointed out.

Going by the precedents in the Lok Sabha, Delhi Assembly, and the Assembly of undivided Andhra Pradesh, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) status should be given to the YSRCP leader. The Leader of Opposition post was given to a leader belonging to the opposition parties, though their numerical strength was less when compared to the total strength of the House, he argued.

Eligibility For LoP

Article 84 of the Constitution specifies the qualifications for membership in Parliament. To be eligible for the Rajya Sabha membership, a person must meet the following qualifications:

1. be a citizen of India and take an oath or affirmation in front of a person authorized by the Election Commission, according to the form set out in the Third Schedule to the Constitution

2. be at least 30 years of age

3. possess any other qualifications prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament.

The Significance of LoP

The Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Indian Parliament holds a position of paramount importance in the country's democratic framework. Tasked with representing the largest opposition party, the LoP plays a pivotal role in ensuring accountability, fostering debate, and presenting alternative viewpoints. In the context of the 18th Lok Sabha, the discussion surrounding the appointment of the LoP has garnered significant attention, particularly within the Congress party.

The Role Of The LoP

The LoP serves as a check on the ruling government, offering constructive criticism, challenging policies, and advocating for the interests of the citizens. Through parliamentary debates, questioning, and oversight mechanisms, the LoP contributes to the robust functioning of democracy by ensuring transparency and accountability in governance.

Salary and Perks

In addition to the substantial responsibilities, the LoP is entitled to a salary and perks commensurate with those of a Cabinet Minister. This includes allowances, facilities, and privileges aimed at facilitating their duties effectively. Such provisions underscore the significance attached to the role and acknowledge the importance of providing adequate resources for the LoP to fulfill their obligations.

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